HC Deb 06 May 1889 vol 335 cc1231-2
MR. SWETENHAM (Carnarvon, &c.)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has abandoned the proposed Van and Wheel Tax; if not, whether, in view of the great increase in bicycle and tricycle traffic, and the superior roads they require, he will reconsider the propriety of including them in the tax; and, if the Van and Wheel Tax is abandoned, will he bring in some measure whereby the rural ratepapers may be recouped some of the extra outlay they are obliged to incur in consequence of the wear and tear the country roads receive from the heavy and narrow wheel wagons emanating from the towns.


The Van and Wheel Tax was a part of the Excise Duties (Local Purposes) Bill, and fell to the ground when that measure was withdrawn. Besides the Wheel Tax, the Bill in question proposed the imposition of a horse duty, and I may say that my hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board contemplates the re-introduction of that proposal. But we have not yet seen sufficiently strong evidence of the desire of the County Councils for the revival of the Wheel Tax to encourage the Government in re-introducing that most just and reasonable duty. In reply to the second paragraph of the hon. Member's question I would remind him that it was just because the owners of heavy vans and wagons emanating from towns objected to paying for the wear and tear of country roads that so formidable an opposition arose to our previous proposal. I have no reason to suppose that the opposition to the tax proceeding from the urban districts is diminished. I wish that the matter could be treated locally; but it is for the County Councils to realize that it is only a strong and general opinion on their part which would justify us in again taking up the question.