asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the very heavy incidence of Purchase Tax on umbrellas, namely, 70 per cent., he will give consideration to making arrangements to permit the production of a utility umbrella at a reasonable price.
I could not introduce a utility umbrella merely in order to cut down the incidence of Purchase Tax. Any question of altering the rate of tax is, of course, one for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that it is almost impossible to buy an umbrella for less than about 35s., because of the very high incidence of Purchase Tax? Shop assistants, typists, cleaners, and other wage earners who may not have umbrellas and are unable to buy them at a reasonable price have their clothing spoiled in bad weather, which will be an encumbrance upon the Board of Trade, and, if they are laid up with colds, a disturbance for business.
My hon. Friend will not expect me to anticipate my right hon. Friend's Budget statement.