§ Mr. ASSHETON
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that business is being held up in the silk and artificial silk industry owing to uncertainty as to the future position of the duty on raw silk and the Excise Duty on artificial silk; and whether he can now make a statement of his intentions regarding these duties?
As regards the first part of the question I have received representations from various quarters in the sense indicated in the question. As regards the second part of the question, my hon. Friend is aware that it is not usual to make announcements as to the possibility of changes in taxation in1574W anticipation of the event, but in view of the published opinion of the Import Duties Advisory Committee that the Customs Duty on raw silk and the Excise Duty on artificial silk yarn should be abolished as soon as circumstances permit, I felt justified last year in so far departing from practice as to state publicly that it was not my intention to repeal or reduce these duties before the end of March, 1936. After consideration of all the circumstances I now feel justified in repeating that statement, with a change of date, and saying that it is not my intention to propose the repeal or reduction of the Customs duties on raw silk or of the Excise Duty on artificial silk, at any rate before the end of March, 1937.