§ The rates specified in the Second Schedule to this Act shall, as from the first day of January, nineteen hundred and sixteen, be substituted in Section eighty-six of the Finance (1909–10) Act, 1910 (which relates to the duties for licences 198 on motor cars) for the rates specified in Part II of the Fifth Schedule to that Act as the rates of Excise Duty for carriages payable in respect of any motor which is a carriage:
§ Provided that where duty has been paid under that Section in respect of a licence for any motor ear as therein defined for the year beginning the first day of January, nineteen hundred and sixteen—
- (a) no further duty shall be payable under this Section in respect of that motor car if the car is not used after the thirtieth day of June, nineteen hundred and sixteen, or, in the case of cars not exceeding sixteen horse-power, after the fifteenth day of August, nineteen hundred and sixteen; and
- (b) a further licence shall be granted for the year nineteen hundred and sixteen for any such motor car which is so used on payment of three-quarters of the difference between the duty payable in respect of that car before the passing of this Act and the duty payable under this Section.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
In the absence of my hon. Friend in whose name this Amendment stands (Mr. Boland), I beg to move, after the word "shall" ["the rates specified in the Second Schedule to this Act shall"], to insert the words "save as regards motor cars used by clergymen of all denominations in the ordinary discharge of their duties." This will enable the right hon. Gentleman to make a statement.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
I want to ask the Committee to give me leave to withdraw this Clause. We are anxious to raise revenue, but we are anxious to raise it in accordance with the amount of use got out of the motor cars. We desired that there should be a reduction in the unnecessary use of motor cars, and a reduction in the use of petrol. We sought to attain this by the imposition of a very heavy Licence Duty. We hoped that that would succeed in reducing the number of licences taken out. It must have been obvious from the correspondence in the Press, from the communications which we have received, and from questions asked in this House, that it is very difficult to devise a scale which shall be equitable. A large number of people, many, many years ago, purchased small cars which they use in the pursuit of 199 their ordinary avocation, and on which they would have suddenly to pay quite a prohibitive Licence Duty.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will allow me: I think the best way in this matter, if the Committee will permit me, would be to proceed at once to pass over the Amendment, and for the right hon. Gentleman to make his statement as to the intention to withdraw the Clause on the Question, that the Clause stand part of the Bill.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. MONTAGU
Then there was another objection which was felt in many quarters. It was that when a man had taken out a licence to use his car for a year, and you subsequently altered the arrangement and made him pay beyond what he thought he had contracted for, you were guilty of a breach of faith. That has been put to us very forcibly, and not always politely! Our only answer was that it had been done before in the Budget of 1909. Since the present Budget was introduced, however, a new departure has been made by the Government, which, I think, will enable us to achieve our object in a fairer way. The Board of Trade has appointed a Petrol Control Committee, and that Committee, as I understand it, intends to institute a central control over the petrol stocks of this country which are to be distributed, under their auspices, to consumers, and only on the permits issued by the central authority. The Committee is now busy obtaining from various consumers the average of their past consumption, and their estimate of their future consumption. On those estimates the Committee will issue a permit to each consumer entitling him to purchase a specified number of gallons of petrol, for a specified purpose, and within a specified period. We propose that in order to get that permit from the Petrol Control Committee the consumer should pay a Licence Duty of 6d. for every gallon which the permit enables him to obtain. If he does not take out the quantity of petrol during the time specified he will be entitled to a refund. When I say 6d. per gallon, of course, it follows that commercial cars, doctors' cars, and, now we propose an innovation, the cars of veteri- 200 nary surgeons, should get their permit at half rates. As I understand the procedure, when you purchase the petrol the vendor will endorse upon your permit the amount of petrol which he sells you. When your permit has expired, if the endorsement does not come up to the amount of duty paid, there will be a refund. This will need a new Resolution, which my right hon. Friend proposes to submit to-morrow, before proceeding to the Committee stage of the Budget, and there are a few other Resolutions which have to be proceeded with.
I have made a calculation, and I find on my very modest consumption of petrol—as I have worked the matter out—instead of paying twelve guineas extra for taxation I shall have to pay £15 for petrol.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
That will depend upon the amount of petrol the Committee allows my hon. Friend. He may be an extravagant consumer.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
The estimate we have formed of the yield will be £962,000 for a full year, as against the Budget estimate of an extra £500,000 in a normal year, and £800.000 in the current year, as the net produce of the additional motor-car taxation.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
We do not really. That is for a full year. This year we get £379,000 less than the old tax, because while we estimate that we shall receive £721,000 from the new duty in the current financial year, we lose this year the £800,000 from the additional Motor-car Duty and also £300,000 on the existing Motorcar Duties owing to the reduction in the number of cars. If hon. Members remember the Budget statement of my right hon. Friend, he was going to get in this financial year £800,000 new duty. In the next financial year he would get only £500,000. This year he was collecting for a year and three-quarters. Next year he would really only be collecting for the 201 year. Therefore in this year we shall lose and next year gain—for this year we lose £800,000, which has to be set against £721,000, and for next we lose £500,000 against £962,000. We also lose in both cases £300,000 in the reduction of the number of motor licences taken out, because it obviously follows that if petrol costs more there will be the same inducement not to use a car or to take out a licence as there was it we had insisted on the higher licence—i.e., this year we lose £1,100,000 in all and gain £721,000, and in a full year we lose £800,000 in all and gain £962,000.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
I do not, for the moment, want to express any decided opinion on the suggested new arrangement put forward by the right hon. Gentleman, but I say at once that I think we shall all appreciate that it is a -very much better form of taxation than the other. The proposals in the Budget were, if one may say so, almost iniquitious with regard to some of the older cars, and particularly in the case of cars of small horse-power. I think it is fair to pay taxation according to amount upon the cost of the motor car. I should like, however, with the permission of the Committee, to say one or two words in regard to the attacks which have been made upon motorists as to the use of their cars durng the War, particularly with regard to the suggestions that we have seen upon the walls to the effect: "Do not use a motor car for pleasure," and so on. So far as I am able to speak for the motoring community—and I think I have some right to do so—I am quite convinced that I am quite justified in saying that 99 per cent, of pleasure motoring is now at an end. Both the Royal Automobile Club and the Motor Union have made most careful inquiries up and down the country, from their members, from county surveyors, recruiting officers, directors of Red Cross Voluntary Aid Societies, etc., and they all, with one accord, testify to the work that motorists have done during the War. It is on account of that work that I submit that this Clause, certainly as introduced into this Bill, was a very great hardship. Remarks have been made, very largely outside the House, with regard to the selfish action of motorists in using their cars at the present time. I want the Committee itself, and the public, to realise what the despised motoring community has really been doing for the public, for the State, and particularly for our wounded soldiers and sailors during the 202 course of the War. I have here certain figures which I may say are definitely reliable figures, and they show that at least 100,000 cars have been used during the War for war purposes.
During the last twelve months—that is for the year ended 17th May—these cars have run on public work, on various kinds of war work, Red Cross work, and so forth, over 12,500,000 miles. The petrol, tyre and maintenance cost has been given to the State by the motoring community without any charge whatever. In addition to that —I am not going to weary the House with figures, but I have got all the details—I should like to mention that the motorists of the country have carried over 1,020,000 wounded soldiers and sailors from ships and trains to hospitals and from hospital to hospital. The House, of course, understands that when I speak of 1,000,000 men being carried I include the fact that some of these men have been carried several times. I can speak frankly as to the members of the Royal Automobile Club because I am not a member of it, but that great association and the Motor Union have records which they have supplied to me, with many of these details, to the effect that over 1,020,000 men have been moved at the expense of the motorists themselves. We have gladly done all this work in order that we might take our share in the War. This work has saved the country enormous expense. If these men had not been moved about by the voluntary agencies they would have had to be moved by the War Office or the Red Cross at the public expense.
I should like the House to hear one or two instances, of which I have here the whole details, to show what is being done in one or two different places. Take the county of Worcestershire. Between 14th August, 1914, and the end of April, 1916, there have been 33,711 wounded soldiers carried. There have been 2,000 car journeys made, and over a quarter of a million miles travelled by the voluntary motor agencies in that county. Take any county you like. Take Hertfordshire. In the twelve months there were carried to hospital 6,000 cases, between hospitals 18,000 cases, and those concerned have carried passengers, not wounded soldiers, numbering 110,000. So I might go on giving figures. I have here for every county throughout our land tabulated statements, and there is no county which has not done its share in this work. I mention these facts briefly, and will not 203 take up the time of the Committee with details. I do not think it is necessary when the tax, in its present iniquitous form, is being withdrawn and a very much fairer tax is being substituted. Even then, when the tax comes to be considered I think we ought to have some abatement in regard to these motors which are used for public purposes. It is rather hard when you realise that the price of petrol is 2s. 10d. per gallon. I speak of the ordinary motor car, capable of carrying three or four wounded soldiers. The motor car cannot be run for less than 9d. or 1s. per mile. All that is being given freely. We glory in being able to give it. At the same time, it is a little bit hard that you should put another tax of 6d. a gallon on to that work. I do not want to see any of these cars which are now being used so largely for public purposes shut down. I do not want to see the kindly acts which are done to our soldiers diminished in any degree whatever. I merely mention those facts for the moment, and I ask my right hon. Friend whether he cannot make some concession, such as he has agreed to with regard to doctors, and even to veterinary surgeons, to those people who lend their cars for recruiting purposes, Red Cross purposes, and for wounded soldiers and sailors. I will not labour it further to-day, but I do suggest that those voluntary workers are entitled to exactly the same kind of consideration as doctors and veterinary surgeons.
§ Sir C. CORY
I understand from my right hon. Friend that the duties on cars remain as they are, and I also understand that doctors now get a rebate, which veterinary surgeons do not get, on duties on their cars, and I would like to know whether my right hon. Friend is going to take into consideration reducing the tax for veterinary surgeons the same as doctors, because I think they have quite as strong a case as doctors. I have representations from my Constituency that veterinary surgeons have to travel as much as sixty or seventy miles a day. Their work is much harder since the War, as so many veterinary surgeons have joined the Army, The veterinary surgeon generally has a very much greater distance to do than the doctor. Many doctors practise in town, and their rounds are within the radius of a few miles. I 204 know veterinary surgeons in my own district travel enormous distances in normal times, and now in war time they travel very much further, so that I do trust my right hon. Friend will see his way to put veterinary surgeons on the same basis as doctors.
§ Sir A. WILLIAMSON
In view of the change in the proposals of the Government with regard to the taxation of motors, would the right hon. Gentleman not consider that the cost of petrol to the community is greatly enhanced by the present policy of the Government in bringing the petrol? If the Government would use a couple of their steamers to bring petrol for their own use, and leave other steamers to bring petrol for the general consumers, the latter would get petrol at a much lower price.
§ Sir W. ESSEX
Leave is being asked to withdraw the Clause. We are, therefore, asked to make a bargain as to the terms upon which that condition should be granted, and I do not think I should be out of order in pointing out one or two things. First, why does not the right hon. Gentleman and the Treasury generally take the whole of the tax in this form of a tax on petrol? The present scale for taxing motor cars is grossly unjust in its incidence. Cars are classed by an arbitrary measurement which every year's progress is altering and making ineffectual and unjust. If the Treasury, or whoever the authority may be who collects this, will, on the basis of this change of method, do away with the tax on motor cars altogether and put the tax on petrol, it seems it would more closely approximate to fairness. In filling up one's petrol form the other day this injustice, or supposed injustice, struck me, and probably it has not escaped the eyes of other hon. Members. You are asked to make your returns as for last April. Now a great many of us are virtuous people who, when an appeal was made for economy, looked round to see in what way we could answer that appeal by cutting down expenses. Some of us got rid of horses and carriages and put away motors. We who responded instantly to the stimulus of the Government and cut down at once have to make our declaration upon an attenuated expenditure of petrol. The person who had selfishly gone about to race meetings, or heaven knows what, on pleasure bent, gets an advantage over those who have already cut down. Such a man makes his declaration 205 on what, if he had done rightly and patriotically, would have been a very much smaller consumption. I ask my right hon. Friend to consider that point. There is one other point. The right hon. Gentleman says that there shall be a rebate made at the end of a given term for any number of gallons for which a tax has been paid, but which gallons have not been used. Would it not be better to allow that amount to go forward to the next year? It would save an immense amount of unnecessary trouble, and the method of carrying over from one period to another any unadjusted balances would be perfectly easy in practice.
§ Sir R. FINLAY
I understand the proposal of the Government is that if this Clause is withdrawn the tax should be imposed upon licences to buy petrol, and it is intended that certain benefits should be conferred not only on medical men, who at present enjoy certain exemption with regard to existing licences, but also with regard to surgeons and veterinary surgeons. I desire to express my great satisfaction at that announcement, but what I rise to say is this: It seems to me that it ought to involve this conclusion, that, as regards the existing duty on motor cars, which I understand is to be maintained, the same abatement should be extended to surgeons and to veterinary surgeons that is extended under the existing law to doctors. The doctor who keeps his car for professional purposes gets a rebate of one-half of the duties on the car which at present exist under the Act of 1910. It seems inevitably to follow, from the announcement which I understand has been made by the right hon. Gentleman, that the exemption with regard to this substituted duty should also be applied to the case of the existing duties for motor-car licences. Every reason given for the exemption in the case of doctors also applies with very great force to clergymen. One case brought to my notice is that of a clergyman of a parish of sixty miles with very great difficulties, and who could not work his parish efficiently without a motor. Surely that is a very strong case for exemption! I really rise to express the hope that the Government will announce the intention of extending the exemption to the existing duties.
§ Sir W. BEALE
With regard to the apprehension of the hon. Member for Stafford (Sir W. Essex), I think he is under a mistake as to the census, and, at all events, he has not grasped fully the way in 206 which it should be applied. I do not understand that in the case of a man who has laid his car by for a period the basis of future use will be necessarily measured by that. I understand people are asked for some description of the purpose for which the petrol is used and an estimate of the requirements, and I should hope, if this goes on, there will be some regard paid to the uses which are made of the car. With regard to the point which the right hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities (Sir R. Finlay) put forward, I certainly reinforce what he said about the case of the minister, particularly during the War, who has taken the duty of other ministers long distances away and cannot possibly carry on the work without some convenience such as a motor car. The case of the doctor and the case of the veterinary surgeon have been dwelt upon over and over again. There is another case, that of the farmer whose horses have been commandeered, and who has bought a motor car, as he requires some kind of locomotion to carry on his business. I should hope the whole thing might be put on a sensible footing by utilising the returns asked for, and by a careful examination of what the legitimate requirements of every man are. An abatement should be allowed for doctors, veterinary surgeons, ministers and farmers in all reasonable oases where the tax would otherwise impose a hardship; in other words, the rebate which now exists for the licence of the car itself should be applied, and more equitably and fully applied, to the case of the proposed substituted duty on the licence to purchase petrol.
§ Mr. PATRICK MEEHAN
I think the proposed tax on petrol is a far more equitable method of extracting taxation which should be paid, and especially with regard to Ireland. There are a number of very old cars for which, under the Clause as introduced into the Bill, the owners would have to pay a tax in some cases more than the value of their cars. On the last Finance Bill the hon. Member for North Kildare had an Amendment granting certain concessions to veterinary surgeons and to clergymen, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer at that time accepted the Amendment so far as it applied to veterinary surgeons. I have an Amendment to the present Clause granting the concession to clergymen and to another class of individual, namely, engineers, "in the exclusive employment of a local authority" 207 —county surveyors and district surveyors who are employed on the roads. So far as Ireland is concerned—and the various county councils in Ireland have inaugurated a system of steam rollers and general improvement of the roads—those men are employed on salary. It is not a question of their using a motor as a trade requisite, and to my mind they have a far stronger ease than the veterinary surgeons. With the latter it is a matter of choice what means of locomotion he chooses, but the officials of a local body get their salary, and out of that they have to pay the expenses of their motors. I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he should consider this matter, or that we should have an opportunity, when the Resolution is introduced to-morrow, of debating this point, and suggesting that the case of engineers in the exclusive employment of local bodies should be considered, and that they should have the same concession as that which has been made to veterinary surgeons, and the same concession should be allowed to clergymen. In Ireland these men, in the course of their duty, have to go on very long journeys, and they are entitled to the same advantages as the veterinary surgeons. With them it is not a trade expense at all, because they must perform the duties of their office. I think, at least, there is a case for consideration, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consider it either to-morrow or before the Report stage.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
There is something to be said both for veterinary surgeons and doctors, because they alleviate suffering, but I do not see why, because these two classes are being exempted, the officials of local bodies and the other classes who have been mentioned should also receive exemption. If you go on like that nobody will pay the tax, and, as a matter of fact, those for whom exemption is now being asked do not alleviate suffering at all, but very often cause it.
§ Sir JOHN SPEAR
I very much appreciate the action of the right hon. Gentleman in withdrawing this Clause, because it will do away with a grievance which has been very freely expressed, that the Government by taking a Licence Duty at the beginning of the year and doubling or trebling it in the middle of the year were committing a breach of faith. From that point of view I think the proposal of the Government to raise revenue by an in- 208 creased tax on petrol is better than the form proposed in Clause 11. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Government had proposed these taxes not so much for the purpose of raising revenue as to prevent the undue use of motor cars, and consequently a larger demand for petrol. I note that the right hon. Gentleman proposes to put an increased duty of 3d. on cars used by doctors and veterinary surgeons, and 6d. on cars used for pleasure. In my opinion that is an insufficient discrimination, because the cars used for pleasure can be given up, or used much less frequently, in order to avoid an undue contribution by the tax on petrol. It is not so with doctors or veterinary surgeons, farmers, or traders of any kind, who have to use their cars very largely for the purposes of their business and only occasionally for pleasure. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether a charge of 3d. on traders, on doctors, farmers, and veterinary surgeons is not a heavier tax proportionately than 6d. on the cars used for pleasure. The professional men and traders are compelled to use their cars no matter what they have to pay, but those who use cars for pleasure can avoid the tax altogether by abstaining from using their cars. I strongly emphasise what has been advocated, that the licences of veterinary surgeons should be put on the same basis as those of the medical men. I have an Amendment down on the Paper to that effect, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to extend this advantage not only to doctors, veterinary surgeons, and farmers, but to traders generally who use their cars chiefly, but not exclusively, for the purpose of carrying on their trade. I believe that would be equitable and just. These persons are obliged to use their cars, and therefore it will prove a heavier charge upon them than those who use their cars simply for pleasure. Although a tax of 6d. may look fair, in practical operation I believe it will be an unduly heavy burden upon the trader and the professional man.
§ Mr. PETO
I hope we shall not have another category of exemptions introduced into this Bill. I think the right hon. Gentleman ought to tackle the whole subject. There are a certain class who can reclaim part of the Petrol Duty, and there is another class who can claim to be taxed by only half the Licence Duty. I think it will be quite simple for the right hon. Gentleman to put into the Schedule 209 certain people like those the hon. Member for Devonshire (Sir J. Spear) has been speaking about, such as farmers, if the Government and the Committee consider that they have a good case. I think they have a good case because so many of them have gone away, and in many cases one farmer is running two or three farms, and consequently he must use a motor car to look after his business. Certainly ministers of religion in the North of Ireland, whose income is not over £100 a year, and who have to get about on motor cycles, are entitled to the full remission if anybody else gets it, but do not let us have so many different categories. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether he cannot put a certain number of these people who use cars and petrol really for trade purposes, or for ministering religion, which is a closely analogous case to the doctors, in the same category and say they should all have half Licence Duties and half Petrol Duty as well. I think that is the proper way to deal with the thing, and not by allowing special remissions.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. AINSWORTH
After the discussion which has taken place, I think my right hon. Friend will fully realise what the use of petrol means in many important industries. We all appear to be agreed that it is advisable to shift the burden of taxation from the licence to the user of petrol, but I also ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether it is not advisable, and whether it would not also increase the revenue of the country, if he were to grant a licence to a motor-car owner for six months instead of twelve months? In Scotland there are a great many cases where people are employed in occupations in the towns in the winter and they move out into the country in the summer. In those cases there is nothing of so much importance as a motor car to those people when they are in the country, and if they could take out a motor licence for six months I am sure they would not hesitate to do so, whereas if they were obliged to take out a licence for twelve months for that purpose they would hesitate, and would probably not take one out at all. If my right hon. Friend could see his way to grant six months' licences I feel sure he would add to the revenue. I would remind the Committee that the Inland Revenue grant licences now for game shooting either for a short or a long period, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consider how far he might have an arrangement of that 210 kind in granting licences for motors. If that were allowed it would not only be a great convenience to the public, but it would add enormously, to the amount of revenue received from those licences. I should not object if the matter were allowed to stand over until the Report stage before arriving at a final settlement, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will fully realise the extent to which the employment of motors enters into the whole business of the country. Nobody wants anyone to spend money on pleasure unless you can do it on behalf of some of the soldiers who are home from the trenches. With regard to the industries and occupations of the country, the motor is becoming a more important asset every day, and the small motor which can easily be driven by a lady is becoming one of the essentials of human life. May I remind the House that Dr. Johnson once said that the greatest pleasure in life was driving fast in a post-chaise with a pretty woman?
§ Mr. LOUGH
I would like to recall the Committee to the general question, because, in my opinion, our discussion would have been better directed to the general proposal than to these exemptions which have been mentioned, and with which I thoroughly disapprove. Although it is not nice to look a gift-horse in the mouth, the price for the withdrawal of this Clause appears to me to be a very high price. Already, while we have been discussing this Budget, the price of petrol has been raised 7d. per gallon. The price is quite prohibitive now, and users of motor cars, instead of being further oppressed by the House, should be considered and relieved. I do not believe figures such as have been given to-day are disputable. To hear some people talk about motor cars, you would really think that this was an old-fashioned, antequated Assembly which could be easily deceived. The motor car is something which has come to stay. It is becoming more and more a necessity to the farmer, the small dealer, and everybody in Ireland, Scotland, and the remoter parts of the country. Under this arrangement you are going to set up a second taxing machine in the country, and I view the proposal with the greatest suspicion. The Government already have one duty, a very heavy duty of 6d. per gallon. If necessary, raise it; but it is really a most questionable proceeding to allow one duty to be raised by the Revenue authori- 211 ties and another to be charged by somebody whom the Board of Trade will appoint in accordance with the use to be made of the car. For my part, while thanking the Government for withdrawing this Clause, I desire to protest against the proposal they wish to substitute for it.
My right hon. Friend told us how much revenue he was going to get out of Clause 11, if it had passed. All such calculations are quite premature, because there is no certainty of getting any revenue at all. There might be a diminished revenue. This House ought to try and take a broad view of this most important question. Then the right hon. Gentleman comes and says that he will withdraw the Clause altogether because there are objections to it. It might not, however, have brought in a penny, and we ought therefore to look with great care at the principle of any tax which is brought forward in substitution for it. Do not let us have any more of those exemptions. They are totally unworkable; they lend themselves to favouritism and to all sorts of fraud. We must have some sensible and reasonable proposal. When this business of motor traction was developing this House made a great mistake, and we lost the motor-car industry for a long time by the absurd law that a motor car must have a man with a red flag in front of it, and must not go more than three miles per hour. That shows the extreme folly of which we may be guilty by acting hurriedly. The Government have brought in a thoroughly bad Clause, which they have had to abandon, and I would advise them not to be in a hurry, but to think out some basis which will be fair to all the great industries concerned before they make any alternative proposal.
Colonel ALAN SYKES
Is this extra 6d. to be paid by those who ask for a permit for spirit to be used in motor cars only, or will it also have to be paid if a permit is required for spirit for a farm engine or for an engine which is used for electric light? It seems to me that unless it applies to everybody there will be a difficulty in deciding whether a man actually uses the spirit which does not pay the tax in an engine used for electric light or in a motor car.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
My right hon. Friend the Member for Islington (Mr. Lough), so far as this Budget is concerned, began wth Clause 1, and he pressed the House 212 to reduce the duty on cocoa by 25 per cent. He was good enough to leave coffee and chicory alone, but he suggested that we should abandon the tax on sugar, which produces £7,000,000. He objects, I think, to the Licence Duty for the manufacture of soda water. He does not like the duty on cider, and now, when we come to Clause 11, he suggests that there should be no further tax on petrol. He is in a voracious mood this afternoon, and there would not be any Budget left if we listened to him. That might be very desirable from his point of view, but I would venture to suggest that we are engaged this afternoon in elaborating machinery for getting revenue. The hon. Member for Stafford (Sir W. Essex) suggested a consolidation of all duties on petrol and motor cars. The difficulty is this. There is certain taxation on motor cars which is part of our ordinary revenue, and which it is intended should exist from year to year. This tax both as originally drawn and as now proposed is, if I may so express it, a Super-tax on motor cars for the War and for the War only, and in order to show that is so we propose to levy it through a body which is going to issue permits under the Defence of the Realm Act. If you substituted for the present proposal a tax such as that suggested, you would make the whole fabric, war tax and tax alike, dependent upon a temporary body, and you would levy, particularly as regards petrol, a duty upon everyone, whether the petrol was used for commercial purposes or not, whereas our intention is to have" this only as a substitute for the Licence Duty.
§ Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and negatived.
§ CLAUSES 12 (Provision as to Alteration of Bates of Drawback where Bates of Duty are Altered), 13 (Allowance of Drawback on the Exportation of Goods Manufactured with Dried Fruits), and 14 (Power by Order in Council to modify Section One of the Immature Spirits Restrictions Act, 1915, as regards Rum) ordered to stand part of the Bill.