HC Deb 08 July 1969 vol 786 cc1138-9
7. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from the Chairman of the Economic Development Corporation for the distributive trades about the recent increase in selective employment tax; and what reply he has sent.

The Minister of State, Treasury (Mr. Dick Taverne)

The Chairman of the E.D.C. wrote to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor on 28th April expressing regret at his decision to increase S.E.T. before Professor Reddaway had reported on the economic effects of the tax and asking for an assurance that no time would be lost in correcting anomalies as soon as the results of the inquiry were available. In his reply, my right, hon. Friend explained that he had to take his decision on the best information available to him and he gave an assurance that he would consider Professor Reddaway's findings very carefully.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Either before or after receipt of these findings, would the Government now admit that their argument that distribution has paid too little tax and manufacturing too much tax has been exploded by the fact that retailers themselves pay purchase tax and now must pay the increased S.E.T. as well?

Mr. Taverne

No, this is not correct. S.E.T. is paid specifically on retailing activities, not purchase tax.

Dr. John Dunwoody

Could my hon. Friend give the House an idea when he expects Professor Reddaway's views to be put forward?

Mr. Taverne

There is a separate Question on this matter later on the Order Paper.