HC Deb 19 March 1959 vol 602 cc599-600
1. Mr. Nabarro

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has made a recent comparison of the low domestic taxation of the products of the German motor vehicle industry with the high taxation of the products of the British motor vehicle industry, together with the consequential effects on their production costs and competitive power in the export markets of the world; and whether he will publish the results of such an inquiry before the Easter Parliamentary Recess.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. John Vaughan-Morgan)

Yes, Sir, but my hon. Friend will appreciate that specific taxes on motor vehicles and fuel are not the only factor affecting competitiveness in overseas markets. The relevant facts about taxation are all available, but I will write to my hon. Friend and give them to him. It would not in my view be practicable or wise to publish a report assessing the weight to be attached to individual factors.

Mr. Nabarro

Has my hon. Friend observed in today's Times that Sir Henry Spurrier, Chairman and Managing Director of Leyland Motors, and Sir William Lyons, Chairman of Jaguar Cars —both companies with magnificent export records—have published their reports on behalf of their respective companies saying how highly detrimental to export trade and competitiveness with the Germans is the high rate of Purchase Tax on our home market, which is running at 60 per cent. on cars and 30 per cent. on commercial vehicle chassis? In those circumstances, will he take very early action?

Mr. Speaker

I think the hon. Member could put his point more shortly.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

I have seen both those reports, and I am sure that we all place great weight on those gentlemen's views, but it is not for me to anticipate any action or statement by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I would further point out that last year, for the first time for some years, we ousted Western Germany as the leading foreign supplier of cars in the United States of America.