HC Deb 06 December 1955 vol 547 cc181-2
21. Mr. Boardman

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the nature of the reply sent to the Tyldesley and Astley Miners' Association, representing 4,800 mine workers, following their protest against certain of the Budget proposals.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The Association's telegram was acknowledged and I took note of their views.

Mr. Boardman

While no one would expect that the Chancellor would start a correspondence course with all those people who dislike his policies, may I ask whether he appreciates that this is one of the largest trade union branches in the Lancashire coal fields, and that this was no flippant protest? Would it not be very much better, in a case like this, if, instead of a formal acknowledgment, a reasoned reply were sent, without adding to the bad policy?

Mr. Butler

I certainly welcome the opportunity afforded by this Question to assure the members, who number about 4,800 mine workers, that I did take note of their views, and I hope that they will understand my difficulty in answering the very many communications I receive, many of them of a most favourable character.

Mr. Nicholson

Is not the proper channel of communication that through the Member of Parliament, and is not the implication here that those mine workers are dissatisfied with their Member of Parliament?

Mr. Allaun

Is the Chancellor aware that the Budget imposes Purchase Tax on working-men's cloth caps and removes it from bowlers? What does the Chancellor think the miners, dockers and engineers will have to say about that?

Mr. Butler

That is a rather technical point which is mixed up with the abolition of the D Scheme. In the old days the cloth cap had a D, and the bowler did not.

Mr. Jay

Can the Chancellor tell us whether this present revelation about his Budget is correct?

Mr. Butler

I have just said that the cloth cap had a D, and so certain caps escaped Purchase Tax, whereas bowlers did not.