asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the rate of duty chargeable on motor cars and commercial vehicles imported into the United Kingdom.
The rate of Customs duty chargeable on such vehicles is generally 33⅓ per cent. ad valorem, or 22 2/9 per cent. If the vehicles are entitled to the benefit of Imperial Preference. With certain exceptions, Purchase Tax is also chargeable on passenger vehicles at the rate of 50 per cent. of the duty-inclusive wholesale value, and on goods vehicles at the rate of 25 per cent. of the duty-inclusive wholesale value of their chassis.
In view of the great success of the motor industry in selling in markets all over the world, what justification is there now for protecting the industry in the home market in this respect? In view of the complete lack of protection offered to, for instance, the Lancashire cotton industry against its chief competitors—there is no protection whatever—does not the Chancellor think it time that these duties were changed?
The duties date back to 1915. They were assimilated in 1938 into the structure based on the Import Duties Act, 1932, and they are now charged under the Import Duties (Consolidation) Order, 1949. They have at least a respectable history.