HC Deb 13 March 1951 vol 485 cc1291-2
50. Mr. Bowles

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much it is estimated that the Exchequer has lost during the last three financial years through the operation of the personal export scheme.

Mr. Gaitskell

Goods are free of tax under the personal export scheme only if delivered direct to a ship or aircraft leaving this country. They are therefore virtually the same as exports and I doubt if we can properly speak of tax relief upon them as a loss to the Exchequer.

Mr. Bowles

While I thank my right hon. Friend for that information and while I do not ask him to anticipate his Budget statement, may I ask him whether he recognises the very strong feeling which exists in the country among people who believe that those who are not resident here and are not liable for British taxation should no longer be exempt from this tax? As there is a prospect of increased taxation, will not my right hon. Friend consider stopping this scheme altogether, in view of the fact that it is paricularly irritating that those who were neutral in the last war are also taking advantage of it?

Mr. Gaitskell

The scheme is under review, but I should have thought it was important to try to encourage foreigners to buy things here.

Squadron Leader Burden

Is the Chancellor not aware of the fact that the personal export scheme is very valuable to this country and is likely to be still more valuable if the Festival is a success, as we all hope it will be? Will he do nothing whatever to impair its efficiency?