HC Deb 15 March 1922 vol 151 c2215W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why a consignment of bronze powder, which arrived at Tilbury on the ss. "Saphir," on the 24th February, and in respect of which the 26 per cent. German reparation levy was duly paid to His Majesty's Customs, has been detained by the Customs officials on the ground of liability to key industry duty, in spite of the fact that the question of imposing a duty on bronze powders is the subject at the present moment of a public inquiry by a Committee appointed under Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, and that no Order has been made imposing a duty on such goods; whether he will give instructions for the consignment in question to be released immediately; and will he take steps to prevent a repetition of such detention which was adhered to in spite of urgent remonstrances?


The consignment in question was not detained owing to the Customs Officers being under a misapprehension that bronze powder as such was dutiable under the Safeguarding of Industries Act, but because there was reason for thinking that some constituent not normally found in bronze powder might be present and liable to Key Industry Duty. A sample was accordingly submitted for test, but meanwhile the importer obtained delivery of the goods on deposit of a sum to cover any liability to duty. The result of the test showed the goods to be free of duty, and the deposit has been refunded. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not prepared to limit the discretion of the Customs Authorities in having goods analysed which they may suspect of being liable to duty.