asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that within the last fortnight a City firm imported 30 parcels of millinery sprays which were detained by the Post Office for assessment of key industries duty on account of the fact that they contained small parts of lamp-blown glass, the total duty levied in the first place being 3s. 1d., which charge was subsequently amended to 11d.; whether he is aware that the Post Office charges for opening these goods in order to make the assessment of lid. amounted to 15s., that is to say, more than 15 times the amount of the duty held to be leviable under the Safeguarding of Industries Act; and whether, in view of the hardship caused to manufacturers in this country who import these goods for manipulation in their own workshops, he proposes to take any action in the matter?
I would refer to the answer given to the hon. Member for Whitechapel on 11th May, and to my subsequent statement in debate on the Board of Trade Vote. I am in communication with the Postmaster-General in the matter.
Does my right hon. Friend not see the stupidity of 15s. being spent in order to collect a tax of 11d., and cannot he make some other efficient arrangement so that this sum of money will not be spent in the collection of so small a tax?
That is exactly the point on which I am communicating with the Postmaster-General. The first I heard of the matter was when my attention was drawn to it by the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Whitechapel.