HC Deb 24 May 1954 vol 528 cc1-2
3. Mr. T. Reid

asked the Minister of Food what export duties on tea were imposed by tea-producing countries before tea price controls were removed in the United Kingdom; what these export duties now are; and, in view of the fact that at present prices our housewives are not only paying a high price for tea to the producers, but are also being indirectly taxed by exporting countries to subvert their Government's revenues, if he will reimpose controls.

The Minister of Food (Major Lloyd George)

When tea prices were decontrolled in October, 1952, the export duty on Indian, Ceylon, and Pakistan teas amounted to 5d. 8d. and 6½d. per lb. respectively. The Pakistan duty was suspended later in 1952. The Indian duty is unchanged. The Ceylon duty now amounts to 10¾d. per lb. The answer to the last part of the Question is "No, Sir."

Mr. Reid

Would the right hon. and gallant Gentleman clear up the question of these duties? As I understand it, the country in question that wants revenue from British housewives imposes an export duty, which is paid by the exporter, who passes it on to Mincing Lane, and the blenders and distributors pass it on to the housewives. Surely this could not be done if there were a fixed price at the end, because it would not be possible to have such an export duty as 10d. and at the same time leave enough to enable the exporters to make a profit and a living?

Major Lloyd George

The duty is paid by the producer, and he passes it on, as the hon. Gentleman has said. I do not see how control could possibly affect what the exporting country does about imposing a duty.