§ 36. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
asked the Minister of Transport if attention has been called to the fact that the fee for transfer of motor car registration numbers is a flat rate of £5; if he is aware that this is a prohibitive sum for many owners of small cars who may wish to transfer their old numbers: and whether he will consider allowing a sliding scale of charges for the transference of motor numbers in the same ratio as the annual taxation of cars?
§ The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Colonel Ashley)
The registration numbers are required as identification marks, and it is not desirable that transfers should be numerous. While the fee of £5 is sufficient to act as a deterrent against unnecessary transfers; I do not think that it can be regarded as prohibitive in cases where, for sentimental or special business reasons, it is desired to transfer a registration number from an old car to a new one, and I do not propose to disturb the existing arrangement.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I put down this question before the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget statement, and now that motorists, and especially small motorists, are to be called upon to contribute so much money to the revenue, could not this concession be made to them, even in sentimental eases?
§ Colonel ASHLEY
I confess that my personal sympathies are rather with the hon. and gallant Gentleman in this matter; particularly as I was obliged to pay £5, but on going into the matter I saw the justice of the claim and reluctantly agreed with it.
§ Mr. B. SMITH
The latter part of the question specifically asks that the concession may be made in the case of lighter cars. The Minister has agreed that the charge more than meets the cost of the transfer. Is it not neither more nor less than a system of profiteering at the expense of motorists?
§ Colonel ASHLEY
No, I cannot agree with the hon. Member. The registration system is a very useful help to the police in identifying cars, and, if it were changed, it would make their task very much more difficult.