HC Deb 18 July 1923 vol 166 cc2329-30W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the injury caused to English booksellers by the operation of the provisions of the German Reparations (Recovery) Act, 1921; whether he is aware that a large number of cases can be submitted in which consignments have been held up with a view of securing duty amounting to 1d. only; and, in connection with the payment of this duty, four separate Government forms have to be filled up and used, and that the postal expense is three times the amount of the duty?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. In common with other traders importing goods from Germany, English booksellers can deduct the amount of the levy from the purchase price. So far as can be ascertained, the statement that consignments are held up to secure a levy of 1d. per consignment is not substantiated. I would point out that the suggestion would imply that booksellers are in the habit of importing consignments not exceeding 4d. in value. The four Government forms referred to are presumably the notice sent to the importer on the arrival of a consignment; the entry (in duplicate) made by the importer and receipt given for the levy. Without the notice of arrival the importer would not be in a position to claim his goods and without the receipt he would not be in a position to deduct the levy from the remittance to the German supplier. The only form completed by the importer is the form of entry.