§ 43 and 44. Mr. Nabarro
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he is aware that the British share of the export trade in goods vehicles by the principal producing countries has fallen from 45.4 per cent. in 1950 to 27.6 per cent. in 1957, whereas that of Germany, where only a low turnover tax applies, has risen from 4.5 per cent. to 18.7 per cent. over the same period; and whether, in view of this evidence that the Purchase Tax on commercial vehicle chassis is causing damage to this important branch of our export trade, he will remove Purchase Tax on commercial vehicle chassis, forthwith;
(2) whether he is aware that the use of the most modern and efficient transport vehicles in this country is being hindered by the maintenance of the Purchase Tax of 30 per cent. on commercial vehicle chassis; and whether, in view of the desirability of reducing transport costs and enabling lower export prices to be quoted, he will take the necessary remedial action forthwith.
I have noted my hon. Friend's views, though I cannot agree with his inferences. I would refer him to my reply to the hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) on 18th November.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Does not my right hon. Friend agree that a militant factor in depressing British sales of commercial goods vehicles in the export market has been the extraordinarily high Purchase Tax paid by those vehicles on the home market? It is about 15 times greater than in the case of our German competitors. As the yield of this portion of the tax is relatively tiny as compared to the whole Purchase Tax, would not my right hon. Friend, under the present conditions of our exports, undertake to review the situation and relieve this class of goods before the next Budget?
My hon. Friend has started his campaign rather early this year. It would be very dangerous to start agreeing with him at this early stage.