§ Mr. PETO
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of the uncertainty that exists in country places as to the conditions under which motor cars or motor cabs used exclusively for letting for hire, and which take the place of dabs or flys formerly employed and kept in cab-yards, and which were hackney carriages as defined in Section 4 of the Customs and Inland Revenue Act of 1888, how often such a motor car or motor cab must stand on a public stand in a street to entitle the owner to claim the rebate of 1½d. a gallon on the motor spirit used; if he can state what the Inland Revenue treat as plying for hire within the meaning of the Fifth Schedule of the Finance (1909–10) Act, 1910; and if he can state how often they require a motor car constructed for the conveyance of goods to be used for the conveyance of goods whilst plying for hire to and 1447 from railway stations, as is now customary in Scotland, in place of horse-drawn vehicles formerly used, and which were hackney carriages within the meaning of Section 4 of the Customs and Inland Revenue Act of 1888?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The definition of a hackney carriage, for the purpose of Licence Duty, is a very wide one and extends to motor cars many of which are not, in any sense, motor cabs or public vehicles, whilst the rebate of duty on motor spirit only applies in the case of spirit used by public vehicles whilst standing or plying for hire. The question as to what is plying for hire is well understood by decisions of the courts, but I may say that no objection is raised by the Board of Customs and Excise to the grant of the rebate in cases where a motor cab which usually stands or plies for hire in a public place is hired from the yard at which it is kept and sent out upon the ordinary terms applicable to vehicles plying for hire. I am afraid I do not understand the last paragraph of the question. If the hon. Member refers to motor vehicles constructed and used solely for the conveyance of goods in the course of trade or business, a licence as a hackney carriage has not been in the past and is not now required for any such vehicle.
Mr. CATHCART WASON
Are we to understand that in the case of an hotel having motor cabs which are there for use by the public, and to be hired by the hour or the mile, the rebate will be given?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I should not like to answer that straight off. It is a question of law as to definition. If my hon. Friend will put a question down I shall be pleased to answer it.
§ Mr. PETO
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can state the average annual amount of Motor Spirit Duty at 1½d. per gallon paid in respect of each motor 'bus in London, and the total annual amount of revenue that will be collected annually on motor spirit consumed by motor 'buses in London, on the basis of the number now employed, and the average annual amount of Motor Spirit Duty at 1½d. per gallon paid in respect of each motor cab in London, and the total amount of revenue that will be collected annually on motor spirit consumed by motor cabs in London, on the basis of the number now 1448 plying for hire, and the nature of the benefit that will accrue to motor 'bus and motor cab owners in London from the proposed allocation of the proceeds of the tax?