HC Deb 18 June 1941 vol 372 cc711-2

Section eight of the Finance Act, 1940, which authorises the issue of a permit to use a mechanically-propelled vehicle on roads to a member of any of His Majesty's naval, military or air forces when on such leave as is mentioned in Sub-section (2) of the said Section shall have effect so as to include among the persons to whom the permit may be issued any officer or man of the Merchant Navy on leave from service on an ocean-going merchant vessel and the Minister of Transport may make such regulations under the authority of Sub-section (4) of the said Section eight as to the form of the permit and the insurance policy on the vehicle as may be necessary to provide for the issue of permits to such officers and men. — [Mr. Denville.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Denville (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central)

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

I believe that this new Clause will meet with the general approval of the Committee and of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In moving it, I can quote Shakespeare and say that we are not appealing to stony hearts or brassy bosoms. The purpose of the Clause is to place men of the Mercantile Marine in the same position as members of the Forces. They are doing actual fighting work and are looked upon as members of the Fighting Forces. They have short leave, and they have their cycles and motor cars, but they are bound to pay the full rate of duty if they use their vehicles. For the payment of 2s. for a cycle or 10s. for a motor car men of the Forces can get a 21 days' licence for using during their leave. I do not think we need discuss the merits of the proposal; nothing but merit stands out. These men are entitled to the same facilities when home on leave as men in the Forces. They have crossed the sea in a merchant vessel, possibly with a gun on board, and in more than one case men of the Mercantile Marine have accounted for an enemy aeroplane. They do their duty in many shapes and forms and sacrifice themselves for the country, and the least we can do is to do something for them in return.

Captain Crookshank

I must ask the Committee not to accept this Clause, because it is drafted in such a form that it will not fit the case. However, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor, like everybody else in the Committee, supports the idea at the back of the new Clause, and if the Committee will agree not to insert it he or I will put down an appropriate Clause to effect the same object on the next stage.

Mr. Denville

On that assurance, I have very great pleasure in withdrawing the Clause.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.