§ Mr. R. A. Butler
There are several hundred thousand traders concerned, and any estimate of the loss must involve a number of assumptions. Assuming normal stocks and that retail prices were reduced by the full amount of the tax reduction immediately, the total gross loss would have been of the order of £13 million.
Traders, however, were free to continue selling their stocks at pre-Budget prices and it is not known how much prices were, in fact, reduced at once; it is likely that the actual loss amounted to an appreciably lower figure. This estimate does not take into account the extent to which these trading losses would affect the traders's liability to direct taxation, nor the benefit to trade resulting from the tax reduction.