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Service Men's Parcels From Overseas (Customs Duty Concession)

Volume 388: debated on Thursday 8 April 1943

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that in the cases of men in the Services overseas who send small parcels home and pay postage duty on these parcels at the place of despatch, the parents or relatives of these men are being called upon to pay additional sums on receipt of parcels, amounting in three known cases to 5s., 8s. 8d. and 15s. 5d.; and whether he is prepared to take any action in the matter?

Customs duty is, of course, payable in this country on receipt of a dutiable parcel in addition to the postage paid by the sender. But I have recently authorised a concession by which each member of His Majesty's Forces serving overseas may send home free of duty four parcels a year subject to certain limits and conditions. The full details of the concession have been notified to the Forces.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware how very discontented and disturbed both the parents and the soldiers overseas are that charges should be imposed such as have been set out in the Question, and of the hardship and discontent that arise when these men, who have very little money, learn that after they have sent these parcels home their parents have to pay these charges on receiving them?

It was in an endeavour to meet that situation that I have made this concession.

Is it possible for the Chancellor to make these new conditions known to Members of this House?

Certainly. I will put something in the Library which will give the information.