§ 40. Mr. Deedes
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue was collected in the financial year 1956–57 as a result of the cider tax imposed by the Finance Act, 1957; how many paid it; and how many were employed to collect it.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Peter Thorneycroft)
Under the Finance Act. 1956, cider of a strength comparable with that of British wine is charged with British wine duty, but no separate figures are kept and no special staff are engaged in its collection.
§ Mr. Deedes
Whilst accepting the difficulty about keeping separate figures, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he is aware that probably only a handful of cider makers are being called upon to pay his tax, with the result that the Customs and Excise officials are put to quite a disproportionate amount of work for a trivial amount of revenue in return? Could he have another look at the matter?
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
Not to charge the tax would be to discriminate openly in favour of perry and cider with equivalent strength to British wine.
§ Mr. John Hall
Is the Minister aware that most manufacturers of this kind of cider have already reduced the alcoholic content to escape this tax?