HC Deb 10 December 1920 vol 135 cc2667-70

(1) Every person applying for a licence under Section thirteen of the Finance Act, 1920, as amended by this Act, or under Section four of the Customs and Inland Revenue Act, 1888, shall make such a declaration and furnish such particulars with respect to the vehicle or carriage for which the licence is to be taken out or otherwise as may be prescribed.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act as to general licences, every licence issued under Section thirteen of the Finance Act, 1920, as amended by this Act, shall be issued in respect of the vehicle specified in the application for the licence, and shall not entitle the person to whom it is issued to use any other vehicle, and a county council shall not be required to issue any licence for which application is made unless they are satisfied that the licence applied for is the appropriate licence for the vehicle specified in the application, and, in the case of an application for a licence for a vehicle purporting to be the first application for a licence in respect of the vehicle, that a licence has not previously been issued in respect of that vehicle.

(3) Where any vehicle in respect of which any such licence as aforesaid has been issued is altered after the licence has been issued in such manner as to cause the vehicle to become a vehicle in respect of which a licence at a higher rate of duty or a licence of a different class is required, the licence shall become void but the holder of the licence shall, on surrendering the same and furnishing the prescribed particulars, be entitled to receive a new licence in respect of the vehicle on payment of such amount, if any, as represents the difference between the amount payable on the new licence and the amount paid on the surrendered licence.

(4) Notwithstanding anything in the provisions of the Acts relating to Excise licences, and without prejudice to those provisions, any such licence as aforesaid may be transferred in the prescribed manner.

(5) Subject as may be prescribed every such licence as aforesaid shall, in the prescribed manner, be fixed to and exhibited on the vehicle in respect of which it is issued.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."


This Clause deals with the provisions as to licences. I have received a letter from a gentleman who suggests that in the case of vehicles let out on the hire-purchase system, the name of the owner and the name of the user might with advantage be attached to the car. I do not see in Clause 5 anything relating to the arrangement which my correspondent suggests. I presume that under Clause 12 it would be possible for the right hon. Gentleman to make Regulations. I should like to knew whether he has considered the suggestion that the name of the owner and the name of the user should both be affixed to vehicles let on hire. If he has considered the suggestion, does he consider it a good one or a bad one?


The whole question of the fixing of the names to the car was considered, and everyone who made representations objected very much to having their name on their cars. They did not wish to be ear-marked everywhere they went, and they did not want everyone to know who they were. I do not think any difficulty will occur, because the licence attaches to the car, and the person who owns the car takes out the licence. If the car is sold, the licence goes with it. The licence is part of the car for a year, and is carried in a small aluminium frame, which costs 3s. 6d.

Commander Viscount CURZON

Five shillings!


Therefore, it does not matter who is using the car. The car has to have the licence attached.


I am much obliged.

4.0 P.M.

Viscount CURZON

I should like some information on the question of licences. The whole of the provision regarding licences is looked upon by most motorists as being to a certain extent a burden upon them, though it may be a necessary burden. What is the actual position where the licence has to be carried? I believe it has to be carried somewhere on the near side of the vehicle, showing to the front. Is it really essential that the licence should be visible in the position indicated? The whole object of the licence is that the policeman or the Inland Revenue officer can see at a glance whether the car has its licence. Is it not possible for anybody with fraudulent intent to substitute a card, not necessarily of the same design, but of the same colour, in the licence frame, and to ride about gaily so long as he is not stopped? Is it not possible under those circumstances for fraud to arise? The only way to ensure against that is to stop the vehicle, and if it is to be stopped, is it necessary to carry the licence on the wind screen as proposed? Would the right hon. Gentleman agree to allow the licence to be carried on the inside of the door, on the near side of the driver's seat. The licence has to be carried in a small metal frame. It is possible that the frame may get covered with grease or dust, and the licence may consequently become obscured. What will be the fate of the motorist whose licence is obscured or held to be partially obscured by a policeman? Some of us know how energetic the police can be. There have been cases where motorists have been brought up because the letters on the number plate have been one-sixteenth of an inch too big or too small. If a certain amount of dust or mud gets on the licence, what will be the position of the owner of the vehicle? Supposing the licence frame is not water-tight. It is specified that it is to have a rubber ring inside, with the idea of making it water-tight. Headlamps are supposed to be watertight, but water gets inside through condensation, and it may well be that water may get inside the licence frame and obscure the licence or damage it. Supposing you take out a licence and within a short time water gets inside the frame, and the licence is damaged. Would it be necessary to replace the licence, and if so, how much would it cost? The only way in which you can make sure that the licence really belongs to the car is by comparing the number of the licence and the number of the car, and in order to do so you will have to stop the car. That brings me back to my original contention about the carrying of the licence. We are now well on in December and we have to get the licences on the cars by the 1st January. That is a short time in which to comply with the Regulations. Recently there was a great motor exhibition in London, and it was quite impossible for the people in the trade to find out exactly what was proposed in the direction of licences, except by the courtesy of the Minister and of the Ministry in allowing them to see them. These proposals have been before the Advisory Committee, but what that Committee did or agreed to was entirely unknown to the majority of the trade. Will the Minister allow a short, reasonable period of grace to anybody who is not able to get his frame on his car by the 1st January providing that he has paid his licence? I suggest a period of a week might be allowed


In regard to the registration marks, I thought that subject came better under Clause 12.


I think it would be for the convenience of the Committee if we dealt with the whole thing on Clause 12.

Viscount CURZON

I was talking about the Excise licence.


If it be convenient to the Committee, I shall allow both points to be raised together on Clause 12.

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