HC Deb 12 November 1957 vol 577 cc763-5
28. Mr. Collins

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to complete the promised review of Purchase Tax anomalies.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I can give no undertaking. The alleged anomalies referred to in the Finance Bill debates were numerous and full consideration must inevitably take some time.

Mr. Collins

Is the Chancellor aware of the considerable importance of this subject to industry? Will he bear in mind that the changes can be made by Order and need not await the Budget, and will he consider, in particular, publishing simple lists of taxed goods instead of the present very complicated Schedules of exclusions?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I recognise the importance of this subject and I will bear in mind what has been said by the hon. Gentleman and my hon. Friend, but I am not ready to make a statement at the moment.

Mr. Jay

Will the Chancellor at least say whether he agrees with the statement of the President of the Board of Trade in September that he favours a fiat rate of tax instead of the Purchase Tax?

Mr. Thorneycroft

There is no question of consideration being given to a fiat rate of tax and, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, the spreading of such a rumour would do a great deal of harm to just those interests about which his hon. Friend was talking.

Mr. H. Wilson

Yes, Sir, but since those rumours arose from a statement made by the President of the Board of Trade, reported in the Evening Standard, will the Chancellor pass on his admonition to his right hon. Friend sitting next to him?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I have taken the opportunity, in answer to a Question, to say that this is not under consideration, and I hope that attention will be paid to it.

41. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether he will take steps to ensure that vehicles subject to a speed limit of 30 miles per hour as goods vehicles are only subject to the appropriate rate of Purchase Tax for this type of vehicle.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. J. Enoch Powell)

No, Sir. The considerations which govern classification for speed limit and for taxation are completely different.

Mrs. Castle

Is it not unfair that a vehicle should at one and the same time be classed as a passenger vehicle for Purchase Tax purposes and a goods vehicle for speed limit purposes, thus getting the worst of both worlds? Could not the Government stake steps to co-ordinate these classifications, because the present conflict is a serious drawback to the motor industry?

Mr. Powell

There is not necessarily any relationship betwen the two classifications. For Purchase Tax purposes a vehicle which is constructed mainly for passenger transport must bear the appropriate rate.

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