HC Deb 24 September 1909 vol 11 cc887-96

(1) The Excise Duty for carriages payable in respect of any motor car which is a carriage within the meaning of Section four of the Customs and Inland Revenue Act, 1888, shall on and after the first day of January, nineteen hundred and ten, be at the rates specified in Part II. of the Fifth Schedule to this Act, and the duty so payable shall be charged throughout the United Kingdom, and the Acts relating to the payment of the duty shall extend accordingly.

(2) The unit of horse power for the purpose of any rate of duty in the said Schedule shall be calculated in accordance with regulations made by the Treasury for the purpose.

(3) Nothing in this Section shall be construed so as to increase or affect the duty now payable in respect of any motor cab, motor omnibus, or other vehicle being a hackney carriage within the meaning of Section four of the Customs and Inland Revenue Act, 1888, or to require a licence to be taken out for any motor car which it not a carriage within the meaning of that Section.

(4) If a duly qualified medical practitioner proves to the satisfaction of the Commissioners or council by whom the licence is granted that any motor car kept by him is kept for the purpose of his profession, he shall be entitled to an allowance in respect of the duty payable under this Section on the car equal to half the amount of duty so payable.

(5) The expression "motor car" in this Part of this Act means any vehicle which is for the time being a light locomotive within the meaning of the Locomotives on Highways Act, 1896, as amended by any other Act, and includes a motor bicycle and a motor tricycle, but does not include a vehicle drawn by a motor car.

Mr. ROWLAND HUNT moved, in Subsection (4), after the word "practitioners" ["If a duly qualified medical practitioner"], to insert the words "or veterinary surgeon."

Veterinary surgeons in the country are very hard worked people and alleviate the sufferings of animals, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to extend this exemption to them. It would not make a very great deal of difference.


We have had a discussion on this question before, and I am afraid I could not possibly accept the Amendment. The moment you extend these exemptions, it would be very difficult to draw the line. There is everything to be said on humanitarian grounds for encouraging doctors to use motor cars, but once you went outside that it would be very difficult to prevent other professional men making claims. It would also be difficult for the Excise officers if the rebates were extended.


I wish the Chancellor of the Exchequer could see his way to extend this exemption to the veterinary surgeon. I will not say he is on exactly the same platform as the doctor, but one administers to the sickness of mankind and the other to the sickness of the whole domain of the beast, and I think the veterinary surgeon has a great claim to the consideration of the Committee and the right hon. Gentleman. I live in the country, and I know that the veterinary surgeon travels as many miles per day as the doctor, although he is not paid at the same rates. I am not suggesting that the doctor in country districts always receives adequate remuneration for his services. What I want to point out is that the veterinary surgeon's attendance is often a matter of urgency. Last winter I had a case of anthrax on my farm which made it necessary at once to call in a veterinary surgeon, and he came over in his motor car much more expeditiously than was possible a few years ago. I quite understand the position of the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he says that once he begins to make exceptions he will have entered on a long lane the turning of which it will be difficult to find, but I would suggest that the grant of this concession we are now asking for would simply complete the necessary exemptions and it would certainly give widespread satisfaction.

Captain CRAIG

The right hon. Gentleman suggests that if he gives way in this matter he will simply be opening the road to pressure for a great many other exemptions. But if he will look at the Paper he will find no other proposals of this nature down, and I believe I am justified in saying that there is no intention to press for any other exemption. Those who live in the country know that the veterinary surgeon does extraordinarily good work, and if he has speedy means of locomotion such as are afforded by a motor car it is possible for him to alleviate the sufferings of animals of all sorts. Many of us feel that a profession which is not paid on so very high a scale ought to be allowed this exemption. After all, its members are the alleviators of suffering, and no other profession has the same claims for exemption as this. The extension of this privilege to veterinary surgeons would afford a great deal of satisfaction throughout the country.


May I point out that the services of veterinary surgeons are of the greatest value to agriculturists, as prompt arrival often enables the saving of the lives of valuable animals. Therefore this would be a real and valuable boon to agriculturists generally, and especially to the smaller farmer, who, farming but a small area, and having but a few animals, may be saved a great disaster which would involve a heavy strain on his circumstances for a long period of years. The loss to the revenue would be very small indeed, and nothing in proportion to the great boon which it would confer upon the veterinary surgeons in country districts, where their services are so valuable.


I should like to point out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, although he has stated that a veterinary surgeon is not a doctor, that he is a doctor, although he doctors animals, and not men. He is engaged in surgical work on animals of the same class as is performed on men, and I think there really is nothing in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's attempt to distinguish between veterinary surgeons and other people who obtain exemption. In fact doctors and veterinary surgeons are really the only people who go about the country to a great extent to relieve the suffering of men and animals, and I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer may be induced to change his mind. If he does not, and my hon. Friend is willing, I shall certainly go to a Division on this question.


An exemption is made in this Clause in favour of medical men. The association of veterinary surgeons with motor cars is not easy to follow. It does not seem altogether a very natural one. Still, I know that veterinary surgeons throughout the country do avail themselves of this means of transit. I see here the working of a trade union, very adroitly done. We had a little while ago on the Notification of Births Bill an attempt made to get up interest on behalf of the medical profession as against other branches of usefulness in time of sickness. We had it on that occasion and we have it now. I think no departure from what would have been the more healthy rule, to make no exemptions whatever in favour of any trader, would have been a sound policy; but I am bound to say, if you give an exemption to medical men, no logical reason can be given why you should not exempt veterinary surgeons.


I should like to support my hon. Friend upon this point, and to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider his determination. The class of men dealt with is a very small one, and they are a very hard-working class. The concession we ask for, therefore, is extremely small. I think the right hon. Gentleman will understand that there are hardly any veterinary surgeons in this country who own a motor car, but the majority of them do their work by motor bicycle, and if he would make this exemption the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be doing an act of justice to a very hard working class of men. I should like to make one last earnest appeal to the right hon. Gentleman. We do not want to divide upon a matter which means nothing at all to him, but I shall certainly do so if we cannot get a concession which is a mere act of ordinary justice. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said it would lead to a demand for further concessions. Can he suggest any other man in a similar position who is likely to ask for concessions of this character?


I had very considerable pressure on behalf of clergymen.


I agree with the right hon. Gentleman there. I do not see the object of clergymen being given such a concession, because their duties are quite dissimilar. They look after the interests of our souls, while veterinary surgeons look after the cares of animals.

Question put, "That these words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 61; Noes, 156.

Division No. 731.] AYES. [5.5 p.m.
Balcarres, Lord Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.) Morrison-Bell, Captain
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Fell, Arthur Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Banner, John S. Harmood- Fletcher, J. S. Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Baring, Captain Hon. G. (Winchester) Gardner, Ernest Ratcliff, Major R. F.
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Gretton, John Ronaldshay, Earl of
Burdett-Coutts, W. Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston) Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Hamilton, Marquess of Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)
Carlile, E. Hildred Harris, Frederick Leverton Salter, Arthur Clavell
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Stanler, Beville
Castlereagh, Viscount Healy, Maurice (Cork) Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Healy, Timothy (Michael) Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Hill, Sir Clement Tuke, Sir John Batty
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r) Kimber, Sir Henry Valentla, Viscount
Charming, Sir Francis Allston King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Walker, Colonel W. H. (Lancashire)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull) Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)
Clive, Percy Archer Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Clyde, J. Avon Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Younger, George
Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E. M'Arthur, Charles
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) M'Micking, Major G.
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Mason, James F. (Windsor) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Hunt and Mr. G. D. Faber.
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Morpeth, Viscount
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Gibb, James (Harrow) Molteno, Percy Alport
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Gibson, J. P. Muldoon, John
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Gill, A. H. Murphy, John (Kerry, East)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Ginnell, L. Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)
Barnard, E. B. Glendinning, R. G. Myer, Horatio
Barnes, G. N. Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Nannetti, Joseph P.
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Gulland, John W. Nolan, Joseph
Beaumont, Hon. Hubert Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Nuttall, Harry
Bellairs, Carlyon Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R. Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.) Hedges, A. Paget O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Bennett, E. N. Helme, Norval Watson Parker, James (Halifax)
Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford) Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Partington, Oswald
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Higham, John Sharp Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Boulton, A. C. F. Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Saff, Wald.)
Bowerman, C. W. Hodge, John Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Branch, James Holt, Richard Durning Pointer, J.
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Hooper, A. G. Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles Horniman, Emslie John Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Idris, T. H. W. Reddy, M.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Jackson, R. S. Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)
Cleland, J. W. Jones, Leif (Appleby) Ridsdale, E. A.
Clough, William Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Joyce, Michael Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Keating, M. Robinson, S.
Cooper, G. J. Kekewich, Sir George Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Laidlaw, Robert Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead) Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester) Roe, Sir Thomas
Crosfield, A. H. Lamont, Norman Rogers, F. E. Newman
Cross, Alexander Lehmann, R. C. Rose, Sir Charles Day
Daiziel, Sir James Henry Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich) Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Devlin, Joseph Lundon, T. Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.) Lupton, Arnold Scarisbrick, Sir T. T. L.
Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.) Lynch, A. (Clare, W.) Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)
Dobson, Thomas W. Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Seaverns, J. H.
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Mackarness, Frederic C. Seely, Colonel
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Maclean, Donald Sherwell, Arthur James
Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall) MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Shipman, Dr. John G.
Elibank, Master of MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.) Sloan, Thomas Henry
Evans, Sir S. T. McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Snowden, P.
Everett, R. Lacey M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.) Steadman, W. C.
Faber, G. H. (Boston) Mallet, Charles E. Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)
Ferguson, R. C. Munro Marnham, F. J. Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Findlay, Alexander Massie, J. Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Fuller, John Michael F. Menzies, Sir Walter Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Thorne, William (West Ham) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney) Williamson, Sir A.
Tomkinson, James Watt, Henry A. Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Toulmin, George White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Verney, F. W. White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.) Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Waring, Walter Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Warner, Thomas Courtenay T. Williams, J. (Glamorgan) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Captain
Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan) Williams, W. Llewelyn (Carmarthen) Norton and Sir E. Strachey.

Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

Amendment proposed: At the end of Sub-section (4), to insert the words, "If an officer of the Army Motor Reserve produces to the Commissioners or council by whom the licence is granted a certificate granted in such manner and by such persons as the Army Council direct that any motor car kept by him has been used for the purposes of the Army Motor Reserve under regulations made by the Army Council for at least six days in any year, he shall be entitled to an allowance in respect of the duty payable under this Section on the car bearing the same proportion to the whole amount of duty as the number of days for which the car has been so used bears to a full year."—[Mr. Lloyd-George.]


I should like to have a few words of explanation from the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to the nature of the concession he is making in this Amendment.


The amount allowed under this concession will depend entirely on the number of days the cars are employed for Army purposes. I understand that an Army Motor Reserve has been organised, and that a register will be kept of the cars available for Army manoeuvres and other purposes. Sometimes the cars will be used for a considerable number of days.

Captain CRAIG

The words of this Amendment are, "Any officer of the Army Motor Reserve." Why is this rebate confined entirely to officers? Why not make it also apply to non-commissioned officers and men?


I think all those who are in the Army Motor Reserve have the title of officer.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this allowance comes to about a shilling a day in the case of cars that are charged at £2, and about 2s. 10d. a day in the case of cars which are charged at £4? Are not these very infinitesimal sums for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to put forward as concessions to those who are serving their country in this Motor Reserve.


Whether the concession is great or small, it represents the whole of the demand that was made upon me.

Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN moved, after Sub-section (4), to insert the words: "(5) The duty payable under this Section shall not be levied in the case of any person temporarily resident in the United Kingdom for a less period in any year than three months."

I move this not because I think that these are proper words to introduce, but because something must be done to meet this case, and I wish to know what the Chancellor of the Exchequer's intentions are. In foreign countries, where duties are charged on imported cars, tourist cars are allowed to pass through the country on giving security, which is returned when the car leaves the country. The foreign tourist coming to this country clearly ought not to pay the duty for a whole year. I think that there might be some provision probably for short-time licences, which is the way in which it seems to me that the point might be most conveniently met. None of us would wish to do anything to tend to prevent foreign tourists coming here with their own motor cars, and I would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has considered the point?


I agree that there ought to be no obstacle placed in the way of foreign motorists coming here with their cars for a short period. They certainly ought not to be charged the duty merely because they tour through the country, and I will consider whether it will be necessary to insert words for that purpose.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Earl of RONALDSHAY moved to add at the end of Sub-section (4) the words "No duty shall be payable in respect of any motor car engine." I hope this Amendment will be accepted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


I accept the Amendment, subject to consideration of the words.

Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

Captain CRAIG moved to leave out Subsection (1).

This Sub-section reads as follows:—"The Excise Duty for carriages payable in respect of any motor car which is a carriage within the meaning of Section four of the Customs and Inland Revenue Act, 1888, shall on and after the first day of January, nineteen hundred and ten, be at the rates specified in Part II. of the Fifth Schedule to this Act, and the duty so payable shall be charged throughout the United Kingdom, and the Acts relating to the payment of the duty shall extend accordingly."

I understand that this Finance Bill applies to the whole of the United Kingdom. The Sub-section refers to the Inland Revenue Act of 1888, which says the tax is to be payable in Great Britain. I want to know why you suddenly change from "Great Britain" to the "whole of the United Kingdom." In 1888 I presume there was some reason for excluding Ireland from this obnoxious tax, and why is it included in 1909?


This question was raised when the question first came before the House. It was entirely one for Irish Members themselves. If they wished to exclude Ireland from the tax obviously they would exclude that country also from the benefit of the tax. Irish opinion in this House was in favour of the tax on motor cars. It did not take much argument to convince them that on the whole it would be better to have the motor cars taxed.

Captain CRAIG

Under the conditions mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman, if I can be sure that Ireland will get more under the tax than she pays, I ask leave to withdraw.


I do not wish to prolong the discussion. I merely rise for the purpose of saying that I never before knew my country so anxious for taxation as on the present occasion.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.