HC Deb 30 June 1927 vol 208 cc691-705

I beg to move, in page 5, line 30, to leave out the word "and."

This Amendment and the next Amendment in my name—after "5" to insert "and 6"—are designed for one purpose, and I am perfectly sure they will have the keen sympathy not only of hon. Members on this side of the House whose sole interest in legislation, financial or otherwise, is justice, but also the sympathy of a number of Members on the opposite side of the Committee, and not least the Minister of Transport. The Amendment says, in effect, or it carries out to the logical conclusion this argument, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to take—and I think "take" is the kindest word that has been used in this connection—for other purposes money which was raised specifically for the purpose of improving and the upkeep of the roads—and when I say money that was raised specifically for that purpose, I reassert what has been asserted and reasserted over and over again by Minister after Minister, both before and since the War—that that money should be used for the purpose of improving the transport communications of the country, and for no other purpose. I do not think that any hon. Members in any quarter of the Committee will really wish to penalise the motorists as such. They might wish to penalise the speedy motorist or the motorist who does not care for the convenience of other people, but motorists as such they will have no desire to penalise. While you raise taxation which was designed for a special purpose from a special class of people and do not apply the results of that taxation for that special purpose, but take them for general purposes, you are imposing a special tax upon a special class, which seems to me a wrong system of finance. The Amendments to which I have alluded would have the effect of reducing the amount of money raised by motor taxation to the level which is required for the purposes for which that taxation was originally imposed, namely, for the upkeep and construction of roads. That is the principle underlying the tax—a perfectly simple and comprehensible principle, which is, I think, quite unanswerable.

The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Colonel Ashley)

The hon. Member has given us a dissertation upon the purposes to which the Road Fund should be devoted in a speech appropriate to Clause 46, but not appropriate at all to this Amendment, and he has told us nothing about the Amendment he seeks to move. The Amendment is simply to reduce by 25 per cent. the amount imposed on those who use what is called light cars, that is, ordinary motor cars. Of course, the answer, in a sentence, is that we cannot possibly accept the Amendment. The Amendment would diminish the amount paid into the Road Fund for these vehicles by 25 per cent. and would reduce the £6 which is paid for a motor car up to six horse-power from to £4 10s., and would impose a, duty of 15s. instead of £1 on each horse power over six. I need not weary the Committee by any further remarks, except to say that the Government cannot possibly accept the Amendment, because it would reduce the income of the Road Fund in this financial year by £2,500,000. The hon. Member has raised the general question of the raiding of the Road Fund, and I am personally in entire agreement with the action of the Chancellor. I think he had no other option than to do what he has done. From a Departmental point of view, of course, one likes to have as much money as possible to spend in one's particular Department, but I am quite clear that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was absolutely right, and I entirely support him.

Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

I have a great deal of sympathy with the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend. In 1920 the motor users were asked by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at that time if they would consent to a very heavy horse-power tax, and they agreed on condition that that money was applied to the benefit of the roads. He gave a definite promise in 1920 that when there was a surplus there would be a reduction of the tax upon motors. In the last two years the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken no less than £27,000,000 from the Road Fund. That shows that there is a surplus, and that might very well be devoted to a reduction of taxation. I fully realise that the past year has been an unexampled year, and a year we hope the like of which will not happen again. But we do ask that in future, when there is a surplus in the Road Fund, this should be devoted to a reduction of the horse-power tax. We have always objected to this tax as being a most unfair type of tax that could be put on the motor car. By far the fairest type of tax is one on petrol. If you reduce the tax to 15s., you will reduce the amount of unfairness, and I would ask him seriously to consider, if he does not change to the tax on petrol, a reduction of the horse-power tax.

The tax on petrol is one that would bring in the same amount, in fact possibly more. If all the money that is devoted to the upkeep of roads is paid by the motorists, the more the motorist uses the roads, the more he should be taxed. At present the tax on horsepower does not do that. In 1924 there were 873,000 cars. The number has more than doubled since that time. The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has told us that this would act as a reduction of 23 per cent., but in 1920 he promised us that when there was a surplus of money it would be devoted to a reduction of tax. Private cars have increased since 1920 by two and a-half times, and I do ask him whether next year—I do not ask him to do it this year, for I realise it is impossible—he cannot turn over to a tax on petrol, or think seriously of a reduction in the rate of the tax.


We are not willing to support this Amendment, because we are not in favour of any reduction in the yield of motor taxes. If this Amendment be carried, it will involve a very considerable reduction. I must express my admiration of the loyalty of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman to his colleagues, although I have to extend my admiration of his loyalty to his own Department. There was a point made in the speech of the hon. and gallant Member who has just sat down which is capable of misunderstanding. He said a pledge had been formerly given that if the yield of these motor taxes were in excess of that required for the needs for which they were levied, some reduction in the rate of tax would be made. The fact that there was the enormous sum of £27,000,000 does not mean that the needs of the roads have been exhausted, and that it was a surplus which could not possibly be devoted to the purpose for which the tax was originally imposed. As a matter of fact, the need for the expenditure of money on the roads has grown at a more rapid rate than the remarkable increase in the number of motor cars. I do not know whether the hon. and gallant Member's observations about a change in the basis of the tax from horse-power to a petrol tax, were in order or not, but I assume they were as the Chair did not call him to order. I hope the hon. and gallant Member will not assume that there is agreement in this House as to the desirability of such a change. After a considerable study of this question, all my convictions are that the present method of assessing on a combination which we call horse-power is definitely preferable to a tax on petrol. I will not go into that now, but some time in the future we shall have an opportunity of discussing it fully, and then I may be able to put to the House the reasons—I think substantial reasons—why the present method of basing the tax should be adhered to.

Question put, "That the word 'and' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 209; Noes, 7.

Division No. 232.] AYES. [9.7 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Birchall, Major J. Dearman Butler, Sir Geoffrey
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l) Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton) Butt, Sir Alfred
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Boothby, R. J. G. Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Campbell, E. T.
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Carver, Major W. H.
Astor, Viscountess Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Cassels, J. D.
Atkinson, C. Brassey, Sir Leonard Cautley, Sir Henry S.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Briggs, J. Harold Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth.S.)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Briscoe, Richard George Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Brocklebank, C. E. R. Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Charteris, Brigadier-General J.
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks, Newb'y) Christie, J. A.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Buckingham, Sir H. Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer
Bennett, A. J. Bullock, Captain M. Churchman, Sir Arthur C.
Berry, Sir George Burman, J. B. Clarry, Reginald George
Betterton, Henry B. Burton, Colonel H. W. Clayton, G. C.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K. Rye, F. G.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N. ) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Colman, N. C. D. Hume, Sir G. H. Sandeman, N. Stewart
Conway, Sir W. Martin Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Couper, J. B. Huntingfield, Lord Sanderson, Sir Frank
Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.) Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's) Sandon, Lord
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Illfie, Sir Edward M. Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend) Jephcott, A. R. Savery, S. S.
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Kidd, J. (Linllthgow) Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)
Dalkeith, Earl of King, Commodore Henry Douglas Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Davidson, Major-General Sir John H. Lamb, J. Q Shepperson, E. W.
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Davies, Dr. Vernon Little, Dr. E. Graham Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfst)
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S. ) Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Skelton, A. N.
Dawson, Sir Philip Loder, J. de V. Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Dean, Arthur Wellesley Looker, Herbert William Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C.)
Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert Lougher, Lewis Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Edmondson, Major A. J. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Smithers, Waldron
Elliot, Major Walter E. Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Ellis, R. G. Lumley, L. R. Sprot, Sir Alexander
Elveden, Viscount Lynn, Sir R. J. Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (l. of W.) Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South) Macmillan, Captain H. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Everard, W. Lindsay Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Falle, Sir Bertram G. McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Streafeild, Captain S. R.
Fermoy, Lord Macquisten, F. A. Styles, Captain H. Walter
Finburgh, S. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Foxcroff Captain C. T. Makins, Brigadier-General E. Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Fraser, Captain Ian Malone, Major P. B. Tasker, R. Inigo.
Gates, Percy Margesson, Capt. D. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton Mason, Lieut.-Colonel Glyn K. Tinne, J. A.
Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Melter, R. J. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Gilmour, Colonel Rt. Hon. Sir John Merriman, F. B. Wallace, Captain D. E.
Glyn, Major R. G. C. Meyer, Sir Frank Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Grace, John Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden) Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Greene, W. P. Crawford Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Greenwood, Rt.Hn.SirH. (W'th'sw,E) Moore, Sir Newton J. Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Grotrian, H. Brent Murchison, Sir Kenneth Watts, Dr. T.
Gunston, Captain D. W. Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Wells, S. R.
Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Oakley, T. Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Perkins, Colonel E. K. White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-
Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Perring, Sir William George Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Hammersley, S. S. Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome) Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Pilcher, G. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Harland, A. Pilditch, Sir Philip Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Harrison, G. J. C. Power, Sir John Cecil Winby, Colonel L. P.
Harlington, Marquess of Pownall, Sir Assheton Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Radford, E. A. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Hawke, John Anthony Raine, Sir Walter Wise, Sir Fredric
Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Ramsden, E. Wolmer, Viscount
Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle) Rawson, Sir Cooper Womersley, W. J.
Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Reid, D. D. (County Down) Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)
Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Remer, J. R. Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Remnant, Sir James Wragg, Herbert
Hlils, Major John Waller Rice, Sir Frederick Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Hogg, Rt.Hon.SirD.(St. Marylebone) Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)
Holt, Captain H. P. Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)
Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k. Nun.) Ropner, Major L. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Hopkins, J. W. W. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Mr. F. C. Thomson and Mr. Penny.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Dennison, R. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Dunnco, H. John, William (Rhondda, West)
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l) Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Ammon, Charles George Fenby, T. D. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Forrest, W. Kelly, W. T.
Baker, Walter Gardner, J. P. Kennedy, T.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Gillett, George M. Lawrence, Susan
Barnes, A. Gosling, Harry Lawson, John James
Batey, Joseph Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Lee, F.
Beckett, John (Gateshead) Greenall, T. Lindley, F. W.
Broad, F. A. Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Lowth, T.
Bromley, J. Grentell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Lunn, William
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Groves, T. MacLaren, Andrew
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Grundy, T. W. MacNeill-Weir, L.
Buchanan, G. Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham N.)
Charleton, H. C. Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Naylor, T. E.
Cluse, W. S. Hardle, George D. Oliver, George Harold
Connolly, M. Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Palin, John Henry
Crawfurd, H. E. Hirst, G. H. Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Dalton, Hugh Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Day, Colonel Harry Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Potts, John S.
Rees, Sir Beddoe Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip Wellock, Wilfred
Riley, Ben Stamford, T. W. Welsh, J. C.
Ritson, J. Stephen, Campbell Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland) Stewart, J. (St. Rollox) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Rose, Frank H. Strauss, E. A. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Scrymgeour, E. Sullivan, J. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Scurr, John Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow) Windsor, Walter
Shepherd, Arthur Lewis Thurtle, Ernest Wright, W.
Shiels, Dr. Drummond Tinker, John Joseph
Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley) Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline) Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. W.
Smith, Rennie (Penistone) Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda) Whiteley.
[Division No. 233.] AYES. [9.28 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Forrest, W. Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Pilditch, Sir Philip
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l) Fraser, Captain Ian Power, Sir John Cecil
A[...]lin, Colonel R. V. K. Gates, Percy Pownall, Sir Assheton
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton Raine, Sir Walter
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Ramsden, E.
Atkinson, C. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Rawson, Sir Cooper
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Glyn, Major R. G. C. Rees, Sir Beddoe
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Gower, Sir Robert Reid, D. D. (County Down)
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Grace, John Remer, J. R.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Remnant, Sir James
Bennett, A. J. Greene, W. P. Crawford Rice, Sir Frederick
Berry, Sir George Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (W'th's'w, E) Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Betterton, Henry B. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Hammersley, S. S. Ropner, Major L.
Boothby, R. J. G. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Harland, A. Rye, F. G.
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Harrison, G. J. C. Sandeman, N. Stewart
Brassey, Sir Leonard Hartington, Marquess of Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Briggs, J. Harold Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Sanderson, Sir Frank
Briscoe, Richard George Hawke, John Anthony Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Savery, S. S.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle) Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Shepperson, E. W.
Buckingham, Sir H. Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Bullock, Captain M. Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)
Burman, J. B. Hills, Major John Wal[...] Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Burton, Colonel H. W. Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine. C.)
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warwk, Nun.) Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Butt, Sir Alfred Hudson, Capt, A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Somervilie, A. A. (Windsor)
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Hume, Sir G. H. Sprot, Sir Alexander
Campbell, E. T. Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Carver, Major W. H. Huntingfield, Lord Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Cassels, J. D. Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's) Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Illffe, Sir Edward M. Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Cayzer, MaJ. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth.S.) Jephcott, A. R. Streatfeild, Captain S. R.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Kidd, J. (Linllthgow) Styles, Captain H. W.
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton King Commodore Henry Douglas Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Lamb, J. Q. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Christie, J. A. Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Little, Dr. E. Graham Tasker, R. Inigo.
Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Clarry, Reginald George Looker, Herbert William Tinne, J. A.
Clayton, G. C. Lougher, Lewis Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Cobb, Sir Cyril Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Wallace, Captain D. E.
Colman, N. C. D. Luce MaJ.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Conway, Sir W. Martin Lumley, L. R Warner, Brigadier-General W.
Couper, J. B. Lynn, Sir R. J. Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.) MacMillan, Captain H. Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Watts, Dr. T.
Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend) McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Wells, S. R.
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Macquisten, F. A. Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple
Dalkeith, Earl of Malone, Major P. B. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Davidson, Major-General Sir John H. Margesson, Captain D. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Davies, Dr. Vernon Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K. Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Meller, R. J. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Dawson, Sir Philip Merriman, F. B. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Dean, Arthur Wellesley Meyer Sir Frank Wise, Sir Fredric
Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Wolmer, Viscount
Edmondson, Major A. J. Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden) Womersley, W. J.
Elliot, Major Walter E. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)
Ellis, R. G. Moore, Sir Newton J. Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Elveden, Viscount Murchison, Sir Kenneth Wragg, Herbert
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Nelson, Sir Frank Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South) Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)
Everard, W. Lindsay Oakley, T.
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Pennefather, Sir John TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Fermoy, Lord Perkins, Colonel E, K. Mr. F. C. Thomson and Mr. Penny.
Finburgh, S. Perring, Sir William George
Briant, Frank Groves, T. Williams. C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Scrymgeour, E.
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Watson, W. M (Dunfermline) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mr. Crawfurd and Mr. Fenby.
Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

I beg to move in page 5, line 32, at the end, to insert the words: and as if the duties specified in the said paragraph (5), as amended by the Finance Act, 1926, were further amended in respect of the duties of excise on vehicles adapted for the conveyance of goods by the substitution of the rates of duties for such vehicles set out in the Fourth Schedule to this Act for the rates for such vehicles set out in the First Schedule to the Finance Act, 1926. This Amendment must be taken in conjunction with the Amendment to the Fourth Schedule later on the Order Paper. The effect of the Amendment is to grade commercial cars for taxation purposes. Last year a new tax was imposed upon commercial cars and the grading was very steep. Over one ton and up to two tons there was a sudden rise of £10 in the tax. Over two tons and up to three tons there was a rise in the tax of £14. The grievance of the manufacturers is that they were not consulted and that they had been consulted, without doing away with the maximum tax, they would have suggested a tax which included smaller steps. Private cars are taxed on horsepower, the tax being £1 per horse-power, but on commercial cars the tax is by tons, and there is a very big rise in the steps. The effect of the Amendment is to put in intervening steps of five cwt., so that the tax instead of rising by £10 or £14 as at present would rise by steps of £3 or £4.

The manufacturers have found that the effect of the present tax is to limit design. When there is a sudden increase in the tax, as at present, the effect is that if a commercial car weighs a few pounds over one ton, it means an additional tax of £10 a year. Putting a limit on design has an effect on our export trade. To increase the efficiency of a car it may be necessary to have an electric lighting set, or a self-starter, or four-wheel brakes; but the effect of these improvements may be to increase the weight of the car to a few pounds above one ton, or to a few pounds over two tons, and that would mean an increase of £10 or £14 a year in tax. I do not think that the effect of this Amendment would be very appreciable on the amount of revenue that comes in, because the greater number of the cars to-day are within five cwts. of those limits. Such being the case, and when nearly half the number of commercial cars are under one ton, and the greater part of these within five cwts. of that ton, if we had this regrading it would not affect the tax yield to any great extent, but it might in certain cases improve it. By adding improvements to a car, you might make the weight slightly above one ton, in which case, under the scheme which I propose, there would be only a £3 extra tax on the car, whereas at the present time manufacturers are often prevented from putting in those improvements, because the added weight might mean the addition of a £10 tax.

As the yearly rate of increase in commercial cars is about 20,000, it means at the minimum an increase of over £300,000 a year. The effect of this proposed tax would be practically stationary, because instead of having an increase of, say, £300,000 or £400,000 a year, for the next year it would be stationary, and after that it would increase. I do not think the Chancellor of the Exchequer can put this scheme into operation this year, but I do ask him seriously to consider whether next year it would not be advisable to have this regrading of commercial motor cars, in consultation with the manufacturers, keeping the maximum amounts as they are at present, but having smaller steps so as to encourage our export trade. At the present time the manufacturers are compelled to make two kinds of cars, one for the home trade, and another for the Colonial trade. That can only mean that there is an increase in production costs, whereas if they had one model both for the home trade and the export trade they could sell the cars at a cheaper rate abroad. That is a most important point, and I would ask my right hon. Friend seriously to consider it. It will mean practically no difference in the revenue, but it is a matter of great concern to our manufacturers in this country. I would ask him if next year he would seriously consider this proposal before the Budget is framed.

Colonel ASHLEY

I have two objections to my hon. and gallant Friend's proposal, one a minor and one a major objection. The minor objection is that the more steps you have, the more administrative expense there must be in carrying out the operation of the tax. Although that is not an insuperable difficulty, one can well understand that those who have to carry out a tax desire to carry it out as economically as possible.

Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

Have you not steps in horse power?

Colonel ASHLEY

We want as few steps as possible, from the administrative point of view.

Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

You have them now in horse power.

Colonel ASHLEY

It is very simple to deal with one horse, two-horse power or three-horse power.

Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

The steps which I propose are steps of five cwt.

Colonel ASHLEY

My major objection is that I am advised that this Schedule would cost the Road Fund certainly £500,000 a year, and probably £600,000. The Committee must realise that with the increasing demands made upon the Road Fund, and when hon. Members representing rural constituencies are asking for further help for rural roads, it is impossible to give away half a million a year. As my hon. and gallant Friend has asked me, I will look personally into the matter between now and next year, and see whether anything can be done to deal with the matter. I am sure he will not expect me to say more now.


Does the hon. and gallant Member press the Amendment?

Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

No, Sir.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to more in page 5, line 32, at the end, to add the words: Provided that a rebate of twenty-five per cent, of the licence duty payable in respect of a vehicle exceeding two tons in weight unladen under the said paragraph (5) shall be allowed in respect of every such vehicle fitted with pneumatic tyres. The object of this Amendment, which stands in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherhithe (Mr. B. Smith) is to encourage the use of pneumatic tyres on heavy vehicles by giving a 25 per cent. rebate on licence duties payable under paragraph 5 of the Schedule to which reference is made in Clause 11. The effect of Clause 11 as it stands is to provide a reduced rate of duty for certain classes of vehicles. We desire to extend that for the purpose of encouraging heavy grade vehicles which have solid tyres at the present time to resort to pneumatic tyres. The result of that would be a considerable saving in the expenses which fall on the Road Fund, because a considerable amount of traffic is done by heavy vehicles with solid tyres, not only when they are new, but more particularly as they get old, and when the tyres are damaged. Consequently, they damage the road much more. I think the right hon. Gentleman has sympathy with this Amendment, and I hope his sympathy will be demonstrated by his acceptance of it. At the present time at least 95 per cent. of the heavy trade vehicles have solid tyres. We estimate, after careful investigation by the Transport Workers' Union, that the effects of this Amendment if adopted will be to double at least the number of vehicles that will use pneumatic tyres, and we anticipate that the cost to the revenue of the whole thing would be £62,000, but we maintain that the saving would be greater than that, On account of the expenditure saved on repairing the roads.

Colonel ASHLEY

Last year an Amendment was proposed on the same lines as that which has been moved by the hon. Member, and it was rejected by the House. We cannot accept this Amendment, because of the cost to the Road Fund. But though we cannot accept the Amendment, I would point out that the saving to the roads is not quite as great as the hon. Member imagines. It is quite true that the pneumatic tyre does less damage to the roads than the solid tyre, but on the other hand, the pneumatic tyre travels at a greater speed than the solid tyre, and, therefore, greater mileage of road is involved. The difference in the damage done by these two classes of tyres, though it is substantial, is not as great as the hon. Member seems to think. Then there are administrative difficulties. The acceptance of the Amendment would result in adding considerably to the duty to be carried out by the police authorities. As the Committee has heard, complaints are constantly coming to the Home Office that the police are being asked to perform a number of duties outside their normal functions, and it is really undesirable, if not impossible, to ask them to undertake any further work, because every piece of extra work you give them to do hampers the discharge of their ordinary duty. I must, therefore, resist the Amendment.


I join issue with the right hon. Gentleman when he says that under this Amendment no saving would be effected.

Colonel ASHLEY

I did not say that. What I said was that the saving is not as great as some people imagine.


It is very much greater than the Minister realises, and if the Road Fund is for the purpose of maintaining the roads in proper condition and making them safe for ordinary people, it should be so used. In my own town the other night the roads were crowded, and there were three deaths and a number of people injured owing to the road in certain parts being too narrow. If the roads are dangerous to human life owing to their dangerous condition, surely it is quite a proper thing to get rid of the danger to ordinary people by widening the roads. Prevention is very much better than cure, and the extra cost to the Road Fund would be well spent. The great damage that is done to the paved roads in our cities does not fall on the Road Fund, but, unfortunately for the local authorities in the smaller towns, it falls upon the tramways or on the rates of the principal town. It does seem to me that the Minister does not appear to have any conviction on any particular point in regard to this matter, because otherwise his own conscience would make him feel the reasonableness of the Amendment which has been moved by my hon. Friend.


There are two problems and two different kinds of roads. One is the problem of the tar-macadamised roads where you get heavy vehicles with solid tyres doing great injury in warm weather and making the roads corrugated. This is frightfully bad for the roads. The second kind of road is the road where the surface is not tarmac, and it is extraordinarily difficult to get the country to take up this question of this kind of road and to press that such roads should be kept in decent condition. These roads have an ordinary metal surface, and on a wet day these heavy, overladen, solid-tyre lorries simply ruin this kind of road. Two or three of these lorries are almost sufficient to ruin the road. I, myself, have seen a road of this kind simply torn up in wet weather by these heavily laden vehicles with solid tyres, and put into such a condition that it was not fit to be used. It is entirely false economy not to agree to a duty which would pay for itself over and over again. There is a great deal of trouble in getting the county authorities to come along and improve these roads. It is all very well to talk about the claims of the Road Fund, but the right hon. Gentleman had better tell that to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Even if he does want to save the Road Fund, it is not unreasonable to accept this sensible suggestion.


There is one thing that has not been mentioned in this discussion, but I do not think even if it were the Government would take any notice of it. It is the amount of damage that is being done every day by these heavy solid tyre vehicles not only to the roads but to residential property. Every Member of this House has at some time or other received a communication from the National Citizens' Union and other Bolshevist organisations of that kind begging them to raise this question of the damage done by these heavy vehicles to residential property. I apologise for having mentioned this matter, because I am sure no member of the Government takes the slightest interest in the question of damage to residential property.


I agree with the protest that has been made against the continual damage to the roads by these heavy solid tyre vehicles. We are continually getting resolutions sent to us about the damage done where there is a great deal of heavy traffic of this kind. If you travel between Rugby and Northampton, for instance, you will see how the tarmac road is damaged in hot weather by these solid tyre vehicles. I, therefore, support the protest that has been made. If, on the other hand, you leave that town and come south along the road which is partly tarmac and partly ordinary material you will see that the solid tyres cut the road about in hot

weather very heavily indeed. This is a very sensible Amendment

Question put, "That those words be there added."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 97; Noes, 240

Division No. 234.] AYES. [9.57 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Rose, Frank H.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Groves, T. Scrymgeour, E
Ammon, Charles George Grundy, T. W. Scurr, John
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Baker, Walter Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Hardle, George D. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Barnes, A. Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Smith, H. B. Lees-(Keighley)
Batey, Joseph Hirst, G. H. Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Beckett, John (Gateshead) Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Briant, Frank Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Stamford, T. W.
Broad, F. A. John, William (Rhondda, West) Stephen, Campbell
Bromley, J. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Strauss, E. A.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Kelly, W. T. Thorne, W (West Ham, Plaistow)
Buchanan, G. Kennedy, T. Thurtle, Ernest
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Lawrence, Susan Tinker, John Joseph
Charleton, H. C. Lawson, John James Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Cluse, W. S. Lee, F. Watts-Morran, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Compton, Joseph Lindley, F. W. Wellock, Wilfred
Connolly, M. Lowth, T. Welsh, J. C.
Crawfurd, H. E. Lunn, William Whiteley, W.
Dalton, Hugh MacLaren, Andrew Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Day, Colonel Harry MacNeill-Weir, L, Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Dennison, R. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Dunnico, H. Naylor, T. E. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Oliver, George Harold Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Fenby, T. D. Palin, John Henry Windsor, Walter
Gardner, J. P. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Gillett, George M. Potts, John S. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Gosling, Harry Rlley, Ben Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Allen
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Ritson, J. Parkinson.
Greenall, T. Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs, Stretford)
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Butt, Sir Alfred Dean, Arthur Wellesley
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l) Campbell, E. T. Eden, Captain Anthony
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Carver, Major W. H. Edmondson, Major A. J.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Cassels, J. D. Elliot, Major Walter E.
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Cautley, Sir Henry S. Ellis, R. G.
Astor, Viscountess Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt.R.(Prtsmth. S.) Elveden, Viscount
Atkinson, C. Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M. )
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Evans, Captian A. (Cardiff, South)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Everard, W. Lindsay
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Falle, Sir Bertram G.
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Christie, J. A Fermoy, Lord
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Finburgh, S.
Bennett, A. J. Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Foxcroft, Captian C. T.
Berry, Sir George Clarry, Reginald George Fraser, Captain Ian
Betterton, Henry B. Clayton, G. C. Gates, Percy
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Cobb, Sir Cyril Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton) Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham
Boothby, R. J. G. Colman, N. C. D. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Conway, Sir W. Martin Glyn, Major R G. C.
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Couper, J. B. Gower, Sir Robert
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn. N.) Grace, John
Brassey, Sir Leonard Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)
Briggs, J. Harold Crooke, J. Smedley(Derltend) Greene, W P. Crawford
Briscoe, Richard George Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (W'th's'w. E)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Crookshank,Cpt.H.(Lindsey,Gainsbro) Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Grotton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Dalkeith, Earl of Grotrian, H. Brent
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd) Gunston, Captain D. W.
Buckingham, Sir H. Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Hacking, Captain Douglas H.
Bullock, Captain M. Davies, Dr. Vernon Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)
Burman, J. B. Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Hall, Capt W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Dawson, Sir Philip Hammersley, S. S.
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Harland, A. Mason, Lieut. -Col. Glyn K. Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Harrison, G. J. C. Merriman, F. B. Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Hartington, Marquess of Meyer, Sir Frank Smithers, Waldron
Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Hawke, John Anthony Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden) Sprot, Sir Alexander
Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Stanley, Lieut, -Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Henderson, Lt. -Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle) Murchison, Sir Kenneth Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Nelson, Sir Frank Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Hills, Major John Waller Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Streatfeild, Captain S. R.
Hogg. Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Oakley, T. Styles, Captain H. Walter
Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Holt, Capt. H. P. Pennefather, Sir John Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.) Penny, Frederick George Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Hopkins, J. W. W. Perkins, Colonel. E. K. Tasker, R. Inigo.
Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities) Perring, Sir William George Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Howard-Bury, Lieut. -Colonel C. K. Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Pilcher, G. Tinne, J. A.
Hume, Sir G. H. Pilditch, Sir Philip Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Hunter-Weston, Lt. -Gen. Sir Aylmer Power, Sir John Cecil Wallace, Captain D. K.
Huntingfield, Lord Pownall, Sir Assheton Ward, Lt. -Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Mldl'n & P'bl's) Radford, E. A. Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Iliffe, Sir Edward M. Raine, Sir Walter Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Jephcott, A. R. Ramsden, E. Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington) Rawson, Sir Cooper Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Reid, D. D. (County Down) Watts, Dr. T.
King, Commodore Henry Douglas Remer, J. R. Wells, S. R.
Lamb, J. Q. Remnant, Sir James Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Rice, Sir Frederick White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-
Little, Dr. E. Graham Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford) Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Loder, J. de V. Ropner, Major L. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Looker, Herbert William Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Lougher, Lewis Rye, F. G. Windsor-Clive, Lieut. -Colonel George
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Luce, MaJ. -Gen. Sir Richard Harman Sandeman, N. Stewart Wise, Sir Fredric
Lumley, L. R. Sanders, Sir Robert A. Wolmer, Viscount
Lynn, Sir R. J. Sanderson, Sir Frank Womersley, W. J.
Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Sandon, Lord Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)
Macmillan, Captain H. Sassoon, Sir Philip Arbert Gustave D. Wood, E. (Chester, staly'b'ge & Hyde)
Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Savery, S. S. Wragg, Herbert
McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Shaw, Lt. -Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.) Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Macquisten, F. A. Sheffield, Sir Berkeley Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)
Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel. Shepperson, E. W.
Makins, Brigadier-General E. Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Malone, Major P. B. Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast) Major Sir Harry Barnston and
Margesson, Captain D. Skelton, A. N. Captain Viscount Curzon.

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

Colonel ASHLEY

I beg to move, at the end of the Clause to insert the words: (2) No duty shall be payable under the said Section thirteen in respect of vehicles used for no purpose other than the haulage of lifeboats and the conveyance of the necessary gear of the lifeboats which are being hauled. I am sure this proposal will meet with the approval of the Committee. It simply means that lorries which are used for hauling lifeboats up and down the beach and to bring the necessary gear to enable lifeboats to go out shall be exempted from this duty.