§ 1. Mr. Nabarro
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason potato mashers are subject to Purchase Tax, whatever their dimensions, whereas egg whisks are only subject to tax if less than 12 inches long; what was the revenue received from Purchase Tax on potato mashers and egg whisks, respectively, during the last 12 months for which figures are available; and whether he will review at any early date the liability, or otherwise, to tax of all wire utensils used in the kitchen.
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. J. E. S. Simon)
The tax applies to articles of a domestic kind, and egg whisks over 12 inches long are not, according to my information, commonly used in the domestic kitchen. With regard to the second part of the Question, 1310 I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to him by my right hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (Mr. P. Thorney-croft) on 17th December. With regard to the third part, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to him by my right hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth on 19th November.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Will my hon. and learned Friend tell the House why an egg whisk used by the housewife is singled out for this vicious and discriminatory treatment, whereas an article almost identical, used by a variety of trades, is free of tax? Is this not an invidious distinction which ought to be remedied forthwith?
§ 2. Mr. Nabarro
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he anticipates it will be possible to reduce the Purchase Tax on neck ties, cravats, sashes, and muffs from 30 per cent. to 5 per cent., which is the present rate charged on handkerchiefs, scarves, shawls, and braces.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Yes, but as, for example, a silk necktie is an article of clothing and is made out of precisely the same material as a silk handkerchief, what are the processes of reasoning which have led the Treasury to suppose that it is a good idea to put a 30 per cent. Purchase Tax on a silk necktie and only a 5 per cent. Purchase Tax on a silk handkerchief?
§ 3. Mr. Nabarro
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why mechanical devices specifically designed for cutting long grass and weeds, and in no way suitable for use as lawn-mowers, have 1311 recently been selected as liable for Purchase Tax as lawn-mowers under Group 16; and whether he will arrange for this decision to be rescinded forthwith.
§ Mr. Nabarro
That is a great victory for me for once. Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that, after a long battle against the Treasury, the Purchase Tax on these machines has now been removed, although a large number of customers who bought this machine have already paid the Purchase Tax? Would my hon. and learned Friend now be scrupulously fair and authorise the manufacturers who have collected the Purchase Tax to repay to each of the owners of the machines the Purchase Tax which they have been illicitly, at his behest, charged?