HC Deb 20 March 1930 vol 236 cc2140-1W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount raised by Customs tariffs per capita in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, United States of America. France, Germany, and Italy, respectively?


, pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th March, 1930; col. 64, Vol. 236], supplied the following information:

The Customs revenue of the United Kingdom in 1928–29 was as follows:

£ 000 Per cent. of total.
Customs duties accompanied, where applicable, by countervailing Excise duties 103,426 84
Customs duties not so accompanied—
Chicory 44
Oil 12,982 11
McKenna goods 3,515 3
Hops, Key Industry goods, Safeguarded goods 2,626 2
122,593 100

The amount raised by Customs tariffs per capita was £2 13s. 9d.

Comparable figures (for the last completed year) for the other countries mentioned by the hon. Member are as follow:

  • Canada, $16.25 (1927–28);
  • Australia, £4 15s. 9d. (1927–28);
  • United States, $5.03 (1928–29);
  • France, Fr. 148.23 (1929);
  • Germany, R.M. 17.34 (1928–29);
  • Italy, Lire 74.1 (1928–29).

Of the above-mentioned figure of £2 13s. 9d. per head, it will be seen that 84 per cent. was derived from Customs duties on commodities which are either not produced here, or, if produced here, are subject to countervailing Excise duties, and of the remaining 16 per cent. only 2 per cent. was derived from Customs duties which were imposed for other than revenue purposes. Thus for the purpose of comparing the height of protective tariffs in different countries the figure of £2 13s. 9d. is of no value whatever owing to the great variations in the extent to which imports are taxed for protective and revenue purposes respectively. As will be seen, the Customs tariff of this country is almost wholly within the latter category. But even in relation to the weight of the taxation of imports, apart from its purpose, a comparison is misleading, since one country may levy such taxation wholly by means of Customs duties, while another may levy such taxation partly by means of Customs duties and partly by means of internal taxes.