HC Deb 01 December 1958 vol 596 cc811-2
1. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Supply, in view of the extent to which the ability of British industry to compete with the German is at present handicapped by the 60 per cent. rate of Purchase Tax imposed on British products in the home market, whether he will make a special review of the export potentialities of the British radio and television manufacturing industry.

The Minister of Supply (Mr. Aubrey Jones)

I have recently received representations from the industry about the effect of Purchase Tax on its exports. These representations are now being considered in the light of the industry's export prospects.

Mr. Nabarro

Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that this largely technical problem and the high incidence of Purchase Tax on the British market compared with the German are having the effect of twisting and warping the design of British radio and television sets, notably in the case of television sets, because the British home market, through the high incidence of Purchase Tax, is tending to concentrate on the 17-inch screen whereas the Germans are concentrating on the 21-inch screen? As this is such a very valuable export market, would my right hon. Friend hasten his representations and make them in the most powerful vein to his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

Mr. Jones

I am aware of the point. Prima facie, indeed, I think there is something in it. It is, of course, being considered, although it has to be balanced against all the other considerations which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor has inevitably to take into account.

Mr. Nabarro

A very sympathetic answer.