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Purchase Tax

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 17 May 1949

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39.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give an estimate of the loss to Purchase Tax revenue which would result if the present turnover, exempt from purchase tax of £500, was raised to £1,000 or to £1,500.

It is impossible to make a reliable estimate. The loss would probably not exceed one or two million pounds. But there are, of course, other considerations.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the purchasing power of the £ has been whittled away for five years, and will he reconsider the adjustment of this matter? It is now impossible to make a bare living at the original figure, and will he consider raising it?

I do not think that this estimate would be affected very much one way or the other by any changes in the value of the £ in the last few years.

40.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has considered a resolution passed by the Methil Co-operative Society and sent to him by the hon. Member for West Fife, condemning the increase of food prices arising from the Budget, and protesting against the failure to withdraw the Purchase Tax from household goods and every day necessities; and what reply he has made.

This Society wrote to my right hon. and learned Friend on 22nd April, and also to the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher), who forwarded their letter. I have already replied to the hon. Member, and I am sending him a copy of the reply which was sent to the Society on behalf of my right hon. and learned Friend.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it was not a favourable reply that he sent to me and that I am raising this matter here in the hope of getting a favourable reply? Would he not consider this resolution in view of the fact that it expresses the desire of very many people in this country, and would he not revert to the policy of soaking the rich? There is still a lot of soaking to be done before they are down to their last soak.

46.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why the 100 per cent. Purchase Tax has now been added to engraved glassware which is not a luxury article.

The tax on glassware of cut glass includes glassware decorated by any form of cutting. It would not be practicable to exclude such examples of cut glass as might not be regarded as luxury articles.

Is my hon. Friend aware that this Tax was not paid on engraved glass at the beginning, probably due to pressure from cut glass manufacturers? Is he further aware that it is quite fantastic to pay a tax of half-a-crown on a tumbler, which probably cost twopence? When will he allow us to have a bit of decoration without paying a ridiculous tax?

This House has laid down the rate of tax and, unfortunately, in practice it has proved impossible to distinguish between one form of cut glass and another.