HC Deb 02 February 1956 vol 548 cc1069-70
33. Mr. Albu

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will remove, by Treasury order, the Purchase Tax on domestic heat pumps.

Mr. H. Brooke

No, Sir. These appliances serve the same purpose as electrical heaters and refrigerators and, in fairness, must bear the same tax.

Mr. Albu

Is not the Financial Secretary aware that this appliance, when used in place of an ordinary domestic boiler, saves at least I ton to 1½tons of coal in a house in a year and that one of the two firms manufacturing them has had to close down now because of the high level of Purchase Tax, with the result that we are losing valuable export orders for this type of appliance?

Mr. Brooke

I will take note of what the hon. Member has said, but on the situation as known to me it would be unfair to the manufacturers of ordinary heaters and refrigerators if these inventions were singled out for tax exemption.

Mr. Usborne

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that his Department has deliberately excluded oil burners which produce heat for domestic purposes from Purchase Tax? Will he tell the House the difference, technically, between an oil burner which is not subject to Purchase Tax and a heat pump which is subject to the tax?

Mr. Brooke

I think that is a rather different question.

54. Mr. McKibbin

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider, when preparing his Budget, permitting limbless ex-Service men aged 55 years and over, who are in receipt of a disability pension of 50 per cent. upwards and who do not qualify for free motor cars, to buy motor cars free of Purchase Tax to enable them to continue going to and from their employment, subject to safeguard as to the sale and disposal of such cars if their owners have no further use for them.

Mr. H. Brooke

My right hon. Friend will bear this suggestion in mind, but there are great difficulties in the way of any such proposal.

Mr. McKibbin

Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that men whose lower limbs have been amputated find the manipulation of artificial limbs more irritating as they get older? Is he aware that the average age of victims of the 1914–18 War will be 65 when the Budget is introduced?

Mr. Brooke

I have great sympathy with what my hon. Friend says but, as his Question recognises, there are difficulties in preventing abuse. If one grants one claim of this kind it opens up the question whether other similar claims in different fields might have to be granted.