HC Deb 27 July 1971 vol 822 c200
20. Mr. Rost

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the reduction in the Cost of Living Index resulting from a 10 per cent. downward adjustment in purchase tax, fuel tax and excise duty.

Mr. Higgins

A reduction of 10 per cent. in the duties on tobacco, alcoholic drink and hydrocarbon oil and in the purchase tax would now have an effect of about 1¼ per cent. on the Cost of Living Index.

Mr. Rost

While adding my congratulations to those being expressed throughout the country for the Chancellor's reductions in purchase tax—the first since the previous Conservative Government in 1963—and the massive reductions in prices which are already in evidence in every High Street, may I ask whether my hon. Friend agrees that the next stage in reducing the burden of taxes imposed by the Labour Government ought to be on fuel tax, which would reduce distribution and transportation costs?

Mr. Higgins

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his initial remarks. My right hon. Friend considered all the various possibilities, and I think that it was right to do so in the circumstances. In our view, however, the priorities which we have set ourselves at this stage are the right ones.