§ Mr. KILEY
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that, despite his assurance that extra staff, larger premises, and extra facilities would be forthcoming, there is still considerable delay in the clearance of parcels from Germany owing to the collection of duties; is he aware that a parcel containing two watches arrived in London on 21st December, and were advised from Mount Pleasant on the 24th, and an amount of £2 12s. 3d. demanded for clearance which was duly forwarded; that on 2nd January a letter was received from the Customs stating that there was a further amount of £3 7s. due under the Finance Act of 1915, which amount was forwarded on the 4th January with forms duly signed and certified by the officer of Customs and Excise at Northampton; and that on 14th January a receipt for the £2 12s. 3d. was received from the Customs but no acknowledgment of the £3 7s.; and can he take action to ensure this parcel being despatched to the consignee without further delay?
Excepting for a brief period following on the Christmas pressure, I understand that the delay in the delivery of post parcels from Germany due to the collection of the Reparation Levy and Customs duties has now been reduced to a minimum. In the particular case referred to, the two watches were forwarded, not by parcel post, but by registered letter post, the use of which for the transmission of dutiable articles is prohibited by international agreement. The watches were, therefore, in strictness liable to seizure, but in the circumstances of the case the Commissioners of Customs and Excise 853W allowed delivery on payment of the Customs duty, etc., involved subject to assay as required by law.