HC Deb 18 May 1971 vol 817 c1052
1. Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will consider abolishing or reducing purchase tax on ice cream.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Patrick Jenkin)

I have nothing to add to my right hon. Friend's Budget Statement.

Mrs. Oppenheim

I am aware of that disappointing state of affairs. Does not my hon. Friend agree that the tax is largely anomalous, because ice cream is not a luxury but a nourishing food, widely advocated by dieticians, used throughout the hospital service, and a useful supplement to the family menu? Does not he concede that the abolition of the tax on ice cream would result not only in expansion in the ice cream industry and increased employment in it but in a reduction of the price of a popular family food?

Mr. Jenkin

I am aware that my hon. Friend has one of Britain's largest ice cream factories in her constituency. She will be delighted to learn that the average rate of growth of production of ice cream in the past four years has been about 5½ per cent. per annum, which hardly suggests that the purchase tax on it is acting as a deterrent to the expansion of production of that very atractive product.

Mr. Clinton Davis

How much "lolly" for the Treasury is there in ice cream?

Mr. Jenkin

That was not very good. Ice cream forms the major part of Group 28 of the purchase tax Schedule, of which the revenue in 1970–71 was about £12 million.

Forward to