§ 1. Mr. Shepherd
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what authority he enforces the keeping of records, as required by Notice No. 77H, issued by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise.
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Henry Brooke)
I would refer my hon. Friend to Section 20 (2) of the Finance Act, 1946.
§ Mr. Shepherd
If my hon. Friend is satisfied that the legal position is sound, does he feel that the moral position of compelling traders to keep new records of transactions between two traders, each of whom is already registered, is really a sound one?
§ Mr. Brooke
There has been a very general desire among traders themselves that the system of registration for Purchase Tax purposes should be enlarged. Consultations took place with the principal trade associations concerned when this new plan was evolved which make it possible to extend the system of registration, provided that these additional records are kept.
§ 6. Mr. K. Thompson
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make an early statement about his intentions with regard to Purchase Tax, so as to avoid the consequences of uncertainty to consumers, traders and manufacturers.
§ Mr. H. Brooke
My right hon. Friend is aware of the considerations involved and is watching the position carefully, but I cannot say anything more on the matter at this stage.
§ Mr. Thompson
Will my hon. Friend take note that, while traders and consumers alike look for the early removal of this damaging tax, they would sooner have an immediate announcement now even if it meant that hope of the ultimate removal of the tax was deferred? An announcement of the Government's intentions would be of great importance to everybody.
§ Mr. Brooke
The long-term future of the tax is, of course, a matter for the Budget, but I assure hon. Members on both sides of the House that the Chancellor is well aware of the possible disturbance to trade that announcements may cause and is taking that into very careful consideration.
§ Mr. Jay
As the Chancellor made an announcement of this kind a year ago, does not the Financial Secretary realise that failure to make a similar announcement now is a direct indication that there will be reductions in Purchase Tax in the Budget? Will not that have the most deterrent effect possible on trade meanwhile?
§ Mr. Brooke
If the right hon. Gentleman will examine HANSARD, he will find that no Chancellor has made a statement on this subject in December.