HC Deb 26 April 1966 vol 727 cc520-1
23. Mr. Lomas

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will remove or reduce the Purchase Tax on musical instruments where these are used exclusively by schools and purchased through the appropriate education authorities.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Niall MacDermot)

No, Sir. It is not practicable to make special concessions to particular users of taxable articles.

Mr. Lomas

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that the total amount of revenue collected in tax on all musical instruments is only £1 million in a single year? Although this would be a small concession, it would be a valuable contribution to the musical education of children in our schools. Will my hon. and learned Friend look into it again?

Mr. MacDermot

I am aware of the fact to which my hon. Friend draws attention, and I think that I answered his Question about it in a Written Answer yesterday. The difficulty here is that one cannot consider one exemption which is proposed in isolation from the very many other requests which we receive to similar effect. There are, for example, many other articles used by local authorities which are subject to tax, including many used by schools, such as stationery and sports equipment.

Sir G. Nabarro

Why are pianos free of Purchase Tax and all other musical instruments taxed?

Mr. MacDermot

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman, with his vast experience in this subject, will know the answer.

Sir G. Nabarro

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order for the Minister to question me? Surely, his duty is to answer me.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Nothing out of order has happened, and to raise points of order in Question Time uses up valuable time.

Mr. Rankin

As we have created a Ministry to promote the arts, and music is an art, why should we tax them?