HC Deb 16 July 1919 vol 118 cc474-5

In the case of excise licences for motor cars granted after the first day of January, nineteen hundred and nineteen, or in any subsequent year, the proportional part of the duty upon payment of which the licence may be granted shall be such sum as bears to the full amount of the duty the same proportion as the period for which the licence will be in force bears to a whole year.—[Colonel Gretton.]

Brought up, and read the first time.


I beg to move, That the Clause be read a second time. My Amendment is one which proposes to remove a grievance in respect of the licences on motor cars, which vary according to the size and assessment of the car. Whatever the period of the year the licence is taken out, with one exception the full charge for the year is made. I understand that only half a year is charged if the licence is taken out on 1st October. Clearly if a new licence is taken out for a motor car for less than a year it is not fair to charge the whole year. It is really not a matter of very great difficulty, and I venture to bring it to the notice of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and ask him to make a concession upon this subject. I am strongly of opinion that these grievances and inequalities of taxation are not in the public interest. Grievances and irritation in connection with tax law are a mistake. I hold no brief for the exact wording of this Clause. I do not press the Amendment if the Chancellor is not prepared to accept it, but I venture to raise it briefly, and ask him to consider what can be done.


The point, I think, was settled by my predecessor in relation to another matter, and I regret to say I am unable to accept the new Clause. At the present time, as my hon. and gallant Friend has rightly said, if a car is not used until after 1st October, only the half-year is charged. The purpose of ray hon. and gallant Friend is to secure for whatever period it may be a charge proportionate to that period. I think that would possibly lead to some owners of more than one car not taking out their licences during the worst period of the year, and only employing them in the better months in what may be called "joy rides." These licences are taken out almost entirely through the Post Office, and the time required to meet my hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion would add to the difficulties of administration. After all, the Motor Car Tax comes under the head of a luxury tax, and I do not think there is great cause for hardship.


I have no love for this particular form of words, and I hope my right hon. Friend will still give this matter some further consideration.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.