HC Deb 29 July 1965 vol 717 cc668-9
19 and 20. Mr. Murray

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what is the total number of pin-table and fruit machines imported in the last five years;

(2) what was the cost in dollars in each of the last five years for the import of pin-table and fruit machines.

Mr. Jay

I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT those figures which are available.

Mr. Murray

I should like my right hon. Friend to give us a total figure at some time and to consider whether the import of pin-table and fruit machines is of any value whatsoever in our present economic circumstances.

Mr. Jay

I presume that those who purchase them and import them consider that they are of some value to them. As to the general question, the previous Government removed import quotas from all these sorts of goods, and it is very much more difficult to re-establish them once they are removed than to keep them there.

Mr. Bagier

Would my right hon. Friend, having allowed the import of these machines, refer to the Chancellor of the Exchequer the possibility of taxing the income from them, because that way he would hit a considerable jackpot?

Mr. Jay

I will certainly pass that suggestion on to my right hon. Friend. My hon. Friend may be glad to know that these machines bear both a 20 per cent. import duty and a 10 per cent. surcharge.

Sir R. Thompson

Are not these machines available and manufactured in this country? Before the right hon. Gentleman takes any drastic steps about them, will he realise that a large percentage of the income of both political parties comes from these machines?

Mr. Jay

I have no official information about the latter point. I understand that manufacture in this country is on a small scale.

Following are the available figures:

(£'000 c.i.f.)
Year Total Imports Imports from U.S.A.
1960 1,312 873
1961 1,084 774
1962 1,664 1,070
1963 2,722 1,338
1964 3,393 1,470

The dollar cost of these imports is not known.