HC Deb 27 January 1955 vol 536 cc420-1
39. Wing Commander Bullus

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to make a statement on the Purchase Tax.

42. Mr. Roy Jenkins

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is yet in a position to make a statement on Purchase Tax, similar to that which he made in January, 1954.

53. Mr. Jay

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a further statement about his intentions on Purchase Tax changes this year.

Mr. H. Brooke

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend and the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen to the answer which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Dodds) the day before yesterday.

Wing Commander Bullus

Yes, but that answer was not very informative. I seek to know the date when the Chancellor may make an announcement of any welcome reduction for the forthcoming year, as he did 12 months ago?

Mr. Brooke

My right hon. Friend's answer two day's ago was very carefully considered, and I have nothing to add to it.

Mr. Jenkins

Is not the Financial Secretary aware that, by making a fair statement last year but this year making some changes and announcing that they do not prejudice the Budget position, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is really creating the maximum possible uncertainty and confusion? Why does not the Chancellor do this year the same as he did last year?

Mr. Brooke

I can only answer that we must wait and see.

Mr. Jay

Can the Financial Secretary say why the Chancellor last year made a statement in January making his intentions clear, but has refused to do the same this year?

Mr. Brooke

There were widespread Purchase Tax reductions in the 1953 Budget, which led to expectations a year ago that there would be further reductions in the 1954 Budget, and there were signs of a hold-up in trade. So far as I am aware, there are no similar signs at present.

Mr. Jay

Is not the refusal of the Chancellor to make a statement this year a plain hint to the trade that he means to make changes in the Budget, and will not that promote the precise depression of trade that he was so concerned to prevent last year?

Mr. Brooke

I would invite the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the statement of the Chancellor two days ago, that it would be unwise to take his statement as pointing to the likelihood of Purchase Tax changes in the next Budget.