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New Clause—(Remission Of Customs Duties On Certain Aircraft And Parts And Equipment Therefor)

Volume 466: debated on Monday 27 June 1949

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(1) Subject to the following subsections, the Treasury may direct that duty shall not be chargeable under the Import Duties Act, 1932, or the Safeguarding of Industries Act, 1921, on the importation into the United Kingdom of any aircraft or aircraft parts or equipment to which this Section applies.

(2) The aircraft and aircraft parts and equipment to which this Section applies are any aircraft of wing span greater than one hundred and twenty feet and any spare part or equipmnt for incorporation in or use on such an aircraft, as respects which the Treasury are satisfied—

  • (a) in the case of any aircraft that it is to be used in maintaining overseas services; and
  • (b) in the case of any spare part or equipment that it is required for an aircraft manufactured outside the United Kingdom and used or to be used as aforesaid.
  • (3) The Treasury shall not exercise the powers conferred by this section except on the recommendation of the Board of Trade and on being satisfied that it is in the national interest that the duty should not be chargeable, and any directions of the Treasury under this Section may be given subject to such conditions as they think fit for restricting the use or disposal of the aircraft, aircraft parts or equipment and for enabling the Board of Trade to satisfy themselves that the conditions are complied with.

    (4) The said powers shall also not be exercised except on an application made by the importer before delivery to him of the aircraft or aircraft parts or equipment.

    (5) An application under the last foregoing subsection shall be made in writing and in accordance with such directions, if any, as may be given by the Treasury.

    (6) Where any aircraft or aircraft parts or equipment are imported without payment of duty by virtue of directions of the Treasury under this Section, and any conditions attached to the directions are not complied with, then (without prejudice to any liability for duty) the aircraft or aircraft parts or equipment shall be forfeited.—[ Mr. Jay.]

    Brought up, and read for the First time.

    8.30 p.m.

    I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

    The Clause is designed simply to give the Treasury power to exempt from Import Duty certain large types of aircraft imported into the United Kingdom, and also spare parts and equipment for those aircraft. The Clause has the purpose, which I am sure the whole Committee will support, of assisting our airlines to overcome the deficit which they have been incurring in recent years. We want to enable British airlines to compete on the international routes where their competitors have many advantages.

    We shall not by this Clause be depriving the British aircraft industry of the protection which it has had against foreign imports since the Import Duties Act, 1932. The reason is that the Clause will only enable us to give the exemption in the case of aircraft of a wing span greater than 120 feet. As the Committee will probably realise, in practice this means simply Constellations and Stratocruisers used by B.O.A.C. Planes of that size are not at the moment manufactured by the British aircraft industry. If they were, foreign currency would not have been made available for importing them from North America. The Treasury will give directions that duty should only be chargeable on a recommendation from the Board of Trade. Therefore, in our view the change will be of some value to British civil aviation and will not have any injurious effect on the British aircraft industry.

    It will be very small. I will let the hon. and learned Member have the exact figure later.

    Question put, and agreed to.

    Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.