HC Deb 24 May 1962 vol 660 cc660-1
20. Mr. Dennis Howell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why he is withholding the repayment of Pool Betting Duty which was subsequently held by the courts to have been wrongly claimed by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise; by what authority repayment has been withheld; and how much money is involved in this matter.

Mr. Barber

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the Stockport County judgment. This resulted in Pool Betting Duty being repaid in respect of subsequent competitions which were similar to those which formed the basis of the judgment, but it did not require repayment of duty paid on earlier competitions. After a review of all the circumstances in which this duty was paid, no reason is seen to make repayment in such cases.

Mr. Howell

Why does not the Economic Secretary answer the last part of the Question and tell the House how much money is involved? Is it not a serious matter that, when a High Court judgment declares that the Government have been getting money out of football pools on a large scale illegally, the Government refuse point blank to pay it back to the people who paid it? Would not any ordinary individual be in gross contempt of court if he did the same, and will the Government give further serious consideration to the matter so that the law of the country can be maintained?

Mr. Barber

No authority is needed for withholding repayment. On the contrary, no case for repayment has been made out. Regarding the last part of the Question concerning the amount of money involved, it is not possible to give any precise answer because, of course, it depends on the facts of each case. Claims received and refused approach £2 million, but if all such competitions were entitled to repayment the amount. could be several times larger.