HC Deb 10 March 1955 vol 538 c609
50. Mr. Gower

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in view of the hardship caused, he will reconsider the problems of retail shopkeepers which arise on every occasion when Purchase Tax is reduced; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. H. Brooke

This problem was very fully examined only two years ago by an independent committee, but they were unable to devise a satisfactory and practicable solution. My right hon. Friend has previously indicated that he is ready to examine any further useful proposals for a solution which may be made, but all those suggestions which he has so far received have contained some fatal weakness.

Mr. Gower

Would my hon. Friend ask my right hon. Friend whether it is not possible, without achieving a perfect solution, that some approximate solution may be found?

Mr. Brooke

An approximate solution not only might involve some loss of revenue but might open the door to the malfeasance of unscrupulous persons.

Mr. K. Thompson

Is my hon. Friend aware that the retail trade is grateful for the consideration given to the schemes put forward by the trade but, nevertheless, retail traders think that a little more initiative by the Treasury itself might help to solve the problem?

Mr. Brooke

This matter was examined by a very powerful committee which was unable to find a solution. When recent reductions of Purchase Tax have been made, retailers have appeared to be so grateful that they have not sent in to me complaints of an absence of a solution of this problem.