§ I now come to the contribution to be made by the indirect taxpayer. I propose to call for a moderate increase in the Petrol Duty, which has stood at 8d. per gallon since 1931. The duty on light hydrocarbon oils will be increased to 9d. as from 6 o'clock this evening. I made inquiries, Sir Dennis, and ascertained that if I did not make that statement before a quarter-past five o'clock nobody would be able to get anything out of it. There will be a similar increase in the duty on heavy oils used for road transport which my predecessor raised in 1935 to the same rate as that on petrol. I expect these increases to give me an additional revenue of £5,000,000 in the current year. To avoid any misunderstanding, I must make it clear that these increases apply only to light hydrocarbon oils, and to heavy oil used for road transport. The present duty of id. per gallon on heavy oils used for any purposes other than as road fuel remains unaffected.
§ As a corollary to the Petrol Tax, I propose to apply an Excise Duty of 9d. per gallon, that is the same rate as the new petrol tax, to power alcohol. The practice of mixing a proportion of power alcohol, or power methylated spirits, as it is technically called, with petrol, has grown markedly in recent years and in my opinion the time has come to tax it equally with the petrol which it displaces.66
§ This duty will come into force from 2nd May and will, I expect, yield £350,000 in the current year. There is a further minor point relating to the Petrol Duty which I may mention. The existing statutory provision authorising repayment in respect of fishing boats which use petrol, has been found in practice not to cover all the cases which deserve relief and I propose to rectify the position in the Finance Bill. I wish to thank my hon. Friend the Member for the Bodmin division of Cornwall (Mr. Rathbone) for having drawn my special attention to the point.