HC Deb 13 November 1958 vol 595 cc563-4
41. Dr. Stross

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has been informed of the fall in sales of bicycles both for export and The home trade and if he will therefore assist this industry by abolishing the Purchase Tax.

42. Mrs. Slater

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware of the continued reduction of the sale of bicycles on the home market; and what proposals he has to make with a view to the reduction of Purchase Tax.

Mr. Erroll

I have nothing to add to the Answer my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Ladywood (Mr. V. Yates) earlier this week.

Dr. Stross

Does the Economic Secretary accept that he has had representations made to him from all sides of the House from very many hon. Members on this matter, and that this is a very serious subject? Could not help be given to the industry now, before it is too late?

Mr. Hirst

Is not my hon. Friend aware that owing to the success of the Conservative Government many more people are now riding about in motor cars instead of on bicycles?

Mr. Erroll

I must say that I think that that is a fact which the manufacturers of bicycles ought to take into account in addition to the tax matter.

Mrs. Slater

Does not the hon. Gentleman also realise that for a large number of working-class people a bicycle is the only mean of getting about and going to work? Does he also realise that his reply to the question raised by his hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Mr. Hirst) is not a fair answer to this problem? Would he not give us some definite information as to what his right hon. Friend intends to do about the matter?

Mr. Erroll

The question dealt with the manufacturers of bicycles rather than with the users of them.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Will not the hon. Gentleman agree that if the Purchase Tax is removed it will encourage more people to buy bicycles, that this will reduce their fatigue in getting to work and thereby increase industrial output? Does he also realise that bicycles are also useful for physical recreation?