§ 15. Mr. Nabarro
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has now considered the recommendations made to him by the National Union of Manufacturers regarding the reduction and simplification of Purchase Tax; and whether he will now make a statement concerning his future purchase tax intentions.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Has my right hon. Friend observed the choice of words of the National Union of Manufacturers,…That the reduction and simplification of Purchase Tax must remain an objective of all Budgets until the total abolition of this most undesirable tax can be achieved.Is it not significant that 6,000 British manufacturers have now lined themselves up behind me in my lobby?
As this is the beginning of the season when the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) keeps putting down these Questions, can we have his assurance that he will line himself up behind us in the Lobby when we press these things on the Finance Bill?
§ 16. Mr. Nabarro
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the concern felt by violinists that the bow-hair for their instruments is not subject to Purchase Tax when purchased in a tail of horse-hair, but when such bow-hair has been wound into a small hank adequate for re-hairing one bow, such hank attracts Purchase Tax at 25 per cent.; why a horse-hair hank is 776 taxed, whereas a horse-hair tail is untaxed; and, having regard to the discrimination which is caused against amateur musicians, notably learners, whether he will restore equality by removing all bow-hair for violins from the Purchase Tax Schedules.
A tail of horse-hair is no more than raw material; a hank of such hair selected and prepared for repair of a violin bow is an accessory to a musical instrument. I am not aware that this sensible distinction has given rise to any concern or confusion except in my hon. Friend's mind.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Would my right hon. Friend explain to the House his special interest in tax fiddling? Is it really desirable that he should continue discrimination in this minute fashion between two articles which for all practical purposes are exactly the same? Is he not adding confusion to confusion with each successive Budget?
I am very glad to note that my hon. Friend has an interest in violins. I thought that he belonged to the wind rather than the string section.
§ 17. Mr. Nabarro
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the stand upon which a saxophonist rests his saxophone is subject to Purchase Tax at 25 per cent. as is the saxophone, whereas the stand upon which a saxophonist rests his musical score is not subject to tax; why this discrimination exists as between stands for the saxophones and stands for the musical scores; and whether he will redress the grievances of saxophonists in this regard by abolition of all Purchase Tax on all stands whether used for saxophone rests or for musical scores.
The charge under Group 19 applies to musical instruments and accessories thereto. A stand for an instrument is clearly an accessory to that instrument. Saxophone players rejoice, I am sure, that reason has been found not to tax their music stands as well.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Would not they rejoice far more if all the stands they used were removed from the incidence of Purchase Tax? How does the Chancellor account 777 for this brainwave of bureaucratic Bumbledom inside the Customs and Excise Department which is now even seeking to distinguish between wooden stands used by musicians for substantially the same purpose? Is that reasonable?
I think it is perfectly reasonable. My hon. Friend, whose vocal powers we have had reason to admire, has overlooked the fact that not all performers are instrumentalists.