§ Mr. BRIANT
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, whether his attention has been called to a package, No. 6,345, containing silk teddy bears and dogs, which arrived per s.s. "Reiher," on the 22nd March, at Sunlight Wharf, London, on which the commissioners of Customs demanded, in addition to the duty on the silk bows, a further amount of £5 14s. 6d., being 33i per cent. duty, on the grounds that the teddy bears contained a musical device; that, despite the protest of the importer, he has been unable to obtain the return of the amount in question, but has been told that the Customs are willing to accept an amount of 36s., being 2s. each on the bears containing the musical device; and on what statutory authority this tax on toys is imposed, and on what authority, if the goods are musical goods, they are charged a rate other than 33⅓ per cent.?
I regret that a misunderstanding appears to have arisen in this case. The sum of £5 14s. 3d. which includes 333 per cent. of the full value of the goods, was tendered on deposit in the first instance at the importers' own option in order to obtain immediate delivery of the consignment pending the decision of the Customs authorities as to liability to musical instrument duty. The decision was that the value of the musical device was only 2s. in each case and that therefore, by virtue of a Treasury Order for exemption made under Section 13 (5) of the Finance (No. 2) 2089W Act, 1915, as applied by Section 3 of the Finance Act, 1925, no duty was chargeable. By a misapprehension the importers appear to have been informed that duty was payable on the value of 2s. which would have amounted to £1 not 36s., but the matter has now been adjusted and the whole deposit refunded less the amount of 3s. 5d. chargeable as silk duty. I may add that no communication or protest from the importers can be traced as having been received at any time.