HC Deb 25 October 1920 vol 133 cc1343-4

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is in a position to inform the House as to the Estimate of the road taxes for next year and the mode in which he proposes to utilise the same; and what arrangement he has made for anticipating the taxes four years in advance?


The Estimate of the receipts and expenditure under the schemes of taxation of mechanically-propelled vehicles and the classification of roads are set out on pages 16 and 17 of the Interim Report of the Departmental Committee on Taxation and Regulation of Road Vehicles in Great Britain and Ireland (Command Paper 660). The hon. Member will sec that provision is made therein for improvements and arterial road construction. It is now proposed to proceed with such work, anticipating so far as may be necessary the revenue under this head until, and including, the year 1923.


asked the Minister of Transport whether, having regard to his repeated pledges to the motor community when they agreed to the increased taxation on motor cars, he is prepared to amplify the Prime Minister's statement dealing with road construction during the coming winter; whether he is able to assure the House that the whole of the fund will be employed for necessary road maintenance, construction, and improvement; whether a proper proportion is being retained for road improvements; and whether he will take care that in dealing with this fund the primary purpose will be the interests of the roads and road users rather than the needs of unemployment which is a national charge?


In the Report of the Departmental Committee upon which the taxation of motor vehicles for the Budget was based, an estimate of expenditure for maintenance and improvements separately was given. The anticipation of the improvement programme in no way interferes with the classification and maintenance grants then proposed. The Government in deciding to expedite the road improvement programme had specifically in mind the spirit of the understanding with the Mechanical Road Using Community. As to the last part, the hon. Baronet is no doubt aware of the provisions of the Development and Road Improvement Funds Act, 1909, under which regard must be had to the state and prospects of employment.


Having regard to the very heavy cost of unemployed labour and its inefficiency, will any consideration be given to that with regard to payment out of the Road Fund?


That is a matter that is being fully considered.