§ 36. Mr. Gourlay
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware of the unemployment in the linoleum industry, due to recession in the home market; and whether he will take this factor into account when he is considering the rate of Purchase Tax which may be imposed on linoleum in the future.
§ The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Anthony Barber)
I noticed the figures given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour in reply to the hon. Member's Question on 20th March, but I cannot comment on the taxation aspect of this matter at this stage.
§ Mr. Gourlay
Is the Minister aware that the figures given by the Minister of Labour on Monday indicated that unemployment in the linoleum industry in Kirkcaldy is now five times greater than in January this year? Is he aware that the manufacture of linoleum in Kirkcaldy is as important to the economy of that town as the manufacture of cars is to the Midlands? Will he press on the Chancellor of the Exchequer the importance of giving most careful consideration, when preparing his Budget, to the necessity of abolishing or reducing the 12½ per cent. Purchase Tax on linoleum and thus helping and encouraging the home market?
§ Mr. Barber
I think the hon. Member will know that Purchase Tax on linoleum was reduced from 30 per cent. to 15 per cent. in 1957 and to 12½ per cent. in 1959. I appreciate his concern, and I am sure my right hon. and learned Friend will take into account what he said this afternoon.