§ 27. Brigadier Medlicott
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if his attention has been drawn to the way in which exports of British-made pianos have fallen this year owing to the virtual closing down of the main overseas markets for these instruments; and if he will reduce the Purchase Tax on British-manufactured pianos sold in Britain, so as to enable the industry to restore and maintain its normal level of productivity and thus continue to provide employment for its skilled craftsmen.
§ 28. Mr. N. Macpherson
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the unemployment in the pianoforte manufacturing industry and of the declining number of serviceable pianos in the country, he will now remove the Purchase Tax on them.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
The rate of tax on pianos has been reduced from 66⅔ per 18 cent. to 33⅓ per cent. with effect from 22nd September. This halving of the tax was requested by the piano manufacturing industry to assist them in meeting their difficulties, and I hope it will. It is too early to gauge its full effect.
§ Brigadier Medlicott
Is my right hon. Friend aware that his timely decision has, in fact, already brought about some improvement in the condition of this valuable industry?