HC Deb 12 July 1956 vol 556 cc575-6
31. Mr. Leather

asked the Secretary to the Treasury by what authority Customs officers waive duty and Purchase Tax on articles brought into the country in a visitor's pockets, which would be dutiable had they entered in the hold of a ship.

Mr. H. Brooke

Under Ministerial authority there are concessions of very long standing which allow visitors to bring in, without payment of Customs charges, small quantities of tobacco, liquor and other such goods for their personal use, but not as merchandise. These concessions conform with international agreements.

Mr. Leather

But is not my right hon. Friend, in fact, saying that there are such concessions? If people bring certain documents here for the sole purpose of trying to build up and help British exports, surely the Customs does not have to go out of its way to stop them from doing so?

Mr. Brooke

My hon. Friend is referring to a case about which he has corresponded with me, in which he was pressing that certain goods which were imported as cargo should be admitted free. If I may refer to that case, I would say that had the Customs officer known that 500 books of order forms had been imported in a passenger's baggage, he might well have considered them chargeable with tax.