§ Mr. Blackburn
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware of the confusion caused to all concerned in the pharmaceutical industry by the accumulative and restrictive provisions of Part 11 of the Eighth Schedule to the Finance Act, 1948; the Purchase Tax No. 5 Order, 1948, S.I. 2462, the Purchase Tax No. 6 Order, S.I. 2720 and the Purchase Tax No. 1 Order, 1949, S.I. 46; and what steps he proposes to take to alleviate the position in the near future.
§ Mr. Jay
These provisions are intended to widen the scope of the tax exemptions for medicines in accordance with the wishes expressed on both sides of the House. When they are fully operative, their combined effect will be to exempt from tax most medicines supplied on a medical prescription, and to make available to the public tax-free a wide range of non-proprietary and unbranded remedies suitable for practically every complaint. The reliefs were worked out in collaboration with the trade associations of the pharmaceutical industry, and I have no reason to suppose that they will be unduly onerous in operation. Having regard to the requirements of the revenue, the alternative to the reliefs would be the reimposition of tax on all medicines, a step which I should not like to propose.