HC Deb 19 February 1952 vol 496 cc142-4

9.14 p.m.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter)

I beg to move, That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to consolidate with amendments certain enactments relating to customs and excise—

  1. (1) the duties of customs and the rates thereof chargeable on imported goods—
    1. (a) if entry is made thereof, except where the entry or, in the case of an entry by bill of sight, the perfect entry is for warehousing, shall be those in force with respect to such goods at the time of the delivery of the entry;
    2. (b) it no entry is made thereof, shall be those in force with respect to such goods at the time of their importation;
  2. and, in the case of goods brought by sea, the time of importation of the goods shall be deemed to be the time when the ship carrying them comes within the limits of a port within the meaning of the said Act of the present session;
  3. 143
  4. (2) where the original gravity of any worts in which fermentation has commenced has been determined, in the manner provided by the said Act of the present session, for the purpose of charging the excise duty in respect of beer, any deduction allowable under that Act from the original gravity so determined shall not have effect so as to reduce the original gravity by reference to which the duty is charged below the actual gravity of the worts as ascertained by the proper officer in accordance with that Act;
  5. (3) the reduction in the drawback payable on tobacco which, by virtue of section one of the Manufactured Tobacco Act, 1863, as amended by the Finance Act, 1904, is directed to be made in respect of inorganic matter contained in the tobacco shall be deemed always to have been a reduction of an amount bearing the same proportion to the amount of drawback otherwise payable as the proportion by which the weight of the tobacco, after the removal of the moisture and any inorganic matter contained therein, would be less than seventy-eight per cent. of its weight after the removal of the moisture but before the removal of inorganic matter;
  6. (4) where, in pursuance of any power conferred by the said Act of the present Session, the Commissioners of Customs and Excise have during any period refused to allow the removal or sending out for home use of goods of any class or description, then, in the case of any such goods which are removed or sent out for home use after the end of that period, the duties of customs or excise and the rates thereof chargeable on those goods shall be those in force at the date of the removal or sending out of the goods.
I think this is the Resolution on which the right hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, Neepsend (Sir F. Soskice), desires an explanation. This Resolution contains four paragraphs, which relates to those Clauses of the Bill, which I will specify, requiring a Ways and Means Resolution. The first, which is somewhat lengthy, and which I do not think I need read because it is available on the Order Paper, is required in connection with Clauses 34 (2, a), 34 (2, c) and 79 (2, a) of the Bill. Their real substance is to regulate the point at which in the importation of goods the rates of duty effective at that particular moment become chargeable. As the provisions of the Clauses I have mentioned might impose a charge, this Resolution is necessary in order to authorise those Clauses.

The second paragraph, which relates to the original gravity of any worts—and I should explain to those hon. Members who, unlike the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing), are unfamiliar with brewing technique, worts are brewed beer—provides for the method of ascertainment of gravity. Because the application of the method in the Clause must impose a charge, it is necessary to have this Resolution. The particular Clause with which it is concerned is Clause 171 (3).

The third one relates to the amount of drawback payable on tobacco. An hon. Member during the Second Reading debate referred to the difficulty which always arises in connection with tobacco, namely, that it contains moisture which affects the weight. In this Resolution it arises in connection with Clause 183 (5) in which provision is made to reduce the drawback payable on tobacco proportionately if the organic contents of the tobacco is less than 78 per cent.; and because, here again, the question of a charge arises, it is necessary to regularise the position under that Clause by this Resolution.

Finally—and, no doubt, the Committee will be relieved to hear that word—there is a Resolution which relates to a not unimportant Clause of the Bill—Clause 261. That Clause deals with the position when the rates of duty change and the goods in question have been held back from entry into the country. The kind of situation that is envisaged is in a period immediately before a Budget when, rightly or wrongly, it is anticipated that changes in duty may take place, and to prevent forestalling, a certain amount of goods are held back. Because, once again, a charge may be involved under the provisions of the Clause in question, it is necessary for us to have this Resolution. I hope that with that explanation, the Committee will be prepared to give us the Resolution.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolution to be reported Tomorrow.

Committee to sit again Tomorrow.