HC Deb 30 June 1964 vol 697 cc1121-2
12 and 13. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what is the cost in terms of money and man-hours per annum in keeping a Customs officer supervising and asking questions of travellers leaving this country by means of trains for the Continent from Victoria Station;

(2) whether, to bring Customs practice at Victoria Station into line with that at London Airport, he will discontinue the practice of Customs officers examining outgoing passengers leaving the United Kingdom by train.

Mr. Maurice Macmillan

As export and currency controls remain necessary, selective examination of outgoing passengers continues at all exit points, including Victoria Station and London Airport. No officers are kept at Victoria solely on account of these duties, which include the clearance of Purchase Tax-free parcels, since they are undertaken by staff serving at the station for other Customs purposes.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

As there is practically no Customs inspection in any part of Europe now, is it not rather old-fashioned to keep a Customs officer for outgoing passengers at Victoria Station? I have never been selected for Customs inspection on outgoing journeys at London Airport. [HON. MEMBERS: "You will be."] If such Customs checks are selective there, will my right hon. Friend introduce a selective practice at Victoria?

Mr. Macmillan

I am sorry that my hon. Friend feels neglected by the Customs. The difference in treatment he has noticed may derive from the fact that the selection at London Airport is by aircraft load rather than by individual passenger, whereas at Victoria selective-ness is as between passengers.