HC Deb 25 June 1968 vol 767 c219
9. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimates the Treasury has made of the yield from a 10 per cent. sales tax on art and jewellery sales in Great Britain; and if he will take steps to introduce this form of taxation.

Mr. Harold Lever

As regards the first part of the Question, the information is not available on which to base a reliable estimate. On the second part of the Question, I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend said in his Budget Speech about new methods of taxation.— [Vol. 761, c. 273–4.]

Mr. Roberts

However, would my hon. Friend accept that it is difficult for workers on the shop floor, coping with prices and incomes policy, to understand the Government's attitude to these sophisticated spivs trading in art treasures worth many hundreds of thousands of £s and paying the minimum of taxation?

Sir C. Osbome

Who says that they are spivs?

Mr. Lever

I would not accept that people trading in art and similar matters should be regarded as spivs. But they are regarded by the Inland Revenue as trading for tax purposes and are charged tax accordingly. I cannot understand any special reason for anxiety concerning private citizens.

Sir R. Cary

Since when has the Director of the National Gallery been a sophisticated spiv?

Mr. Lever

I do not think that that follows from the Question or the supplementary question.

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