HC Deb 09 December 1920 vol 135 cc2597-8

Resolution reported, That for the purpose of calculating the amount of the fluty chargeable on a licence for a vehicle under the Second Schedule to The Finance Act, 1920, the expression "weight unladen in that schedule should be taken to be the weight of the vehicle inclusive of the body, and all parts (the heavier being taken where alternative bodies or parts are used) which are necessary to or ordinarily used with the vehicle when working on a road, but exclusive of the weight of water, fuel, or accumulators (other than boilers) used for the purpose of propulsion and of loose tools or loose equipment. Provided that in the case of a vehicle which weighs more than seven and a quarter tons, and is specially constructed so that all or part of the superstructure is a permanent, or essentially permanent, fixture and the axle weights of which do not exceed the maximum axle weights prescribed under The Motor Car Act, 1903, or any Act amending that Act, the weight unladen of the vehicle shall be deemed to be seven and a quarter tons.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Can we have an explanation? Is there any expenditure of public money, or will it be got over by some financial trickery which I do not understand?


My hon. Friend does not quite appreciate what is happening in this matter. This is a Ways and Means resolution and it comes only because there is a very fine question as to whether under certain circumstances a duty imposed by the Finance Act might be involved. In the Finance Act motor taxation takes the form of a tax upon vehicles varying according to the class of the vehicle. On vehicles for the conveyance of goods on roads the duty payable varies with the weight. A vehicle which weighs not more than 12 cwt. pays a £10 tax, a vehicle not exceeding a ton pays £16, and so on by a graduated scale. The question which has caused some difficulty is how are vehicles to be weighed. The phrase in the Finance Act is "weight unladen" and this is to define what we mean by "weight unladen." I can most simply illustrate the definition by the analogy of an empty car ready to receive its load. There is another definition which might confuse it, and in order that there might be proper weighing of vehicles we instituted this definition.