HC Deb 27 July 1971 vol 822 c197
15. Mr. St. John-Stevas

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will reclassify the harp from being a movable to an immovable instrument for tax purposes.

Mr. Barber

While I cannot accede to my hon. Friend's request to classify the harp as he suggests, I did last week reduce the tax on harps from 36⅔ per cent. to 30 per cent., and I hope that this has been duly noted in high places.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Are not organs exempt altogether from purchase tax? What possible reason can there be for distinguishing between organists and harpists, especially as the harp is a higher instrument in every sense of the word? Cannot we therefore have exemptions for harps and justice for members of the harp-playing classes?

Mr. Barber

My hon. Friend is known as a very versatile man. If he were to extend his musical prowess to organs or, I am informed, to bells of the kind available for installation in a belfry, he would obtain these instruments free of purchase tax.

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