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Purchase Tax

Volume 446: debated on Tuesday 27 January 1948

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the hardship caused to poor people suffering from serious and prolonged illnesses by the recent increase in Purchase Tax to 33⅓ per cent. on drugs and medicine when such medicine is ordered to be taken on medical advice; and whether he will consider reducing or abolishing a tax which has the effect of a tax on sickness and suffering.

As a result of the consideration referred to in my reply to the hon. Member for London University (Sir E. Graham-Little) on 1st December, particulars of a further Treasury Order exempting certain drugs will shortly be announced. I shall also be considering the question of medicines further in the review of the Purchase Tax which I have undertaken to make in connection with the forthcoming Budget.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the high rate of Purchase Tax on literature and materials used for social and religious activities in connection with youth organisations, Sunday schools and young people's clubs is a serious handicap to their work; and whether he will consider its abolition in such cases.

It is unavoidable that liability for Purchase Tax should depend on the character of the article, and I regret that it is impracticable to provide exemption according to the uses to which articles of a chargeable kind are put.


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury why he is refusing to make refunds of the additional Purchase Tax paid in respect of high tension batteries purchased after the last Budget and before the proposal for the increase of tax was abandoned.

Because tax at the increased rate was legally chargeable during that period.