§ Mr. J. HUDSON
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has received a statement from a soldier's widowed mother in Huddersfield that a Christmas present from her soldier son in India, which consisted of a souvenir of his regimental colours worked in silk, costing him about 30 rupees, was made the subject of a guinea Silk Tax on arrival in England; and whether, as the mother was unable to pay this tax, with the consequent confiscation of the present by the authorities, he will arrange for the mother to receive her son's present, in view of the provisions of Section 13 (5) of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1915, by which the Treasury is empowered to exempt certain types of articles from the Government's Protective duties?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
There is no exemption of gifts as such from Customs and Excise duties, and, accordingly, they pay duty, whether they consist of scent, cigars, confectionery, silk, or other dutiable commodities. Moreover, any such exemption would be highly dangerous to the revenue, as it would open the door to evasion which it would be impossible to check. The Section quoted by the hon. Member, therefore, is not applicable. I am informed that the duty in this case was assessed on the value of the goods as declared by the sender, but if, as the result of inquiry, it appears that he had put the value too high, a suitable adjustment will be made. I may add that the hon. Member is under a misapprehension in speaking of "confiscation," as I understand that the addressee has now taken delivery of the parcel.