HC Deb 27 November 1945 vol 416 cc1122-3

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, stand part of the Bill."

Mr. C. Williams

I would like some further explanation of Subsection (4). Under this Subsection the rates of duties chargeable within the area of a local authority by the authority or by any person acting in pursuance of a contract with that authority in order to cleanse or water roads or gullies shall be those specified in Part III of the Second Schedule. Before we pass from this Clause, as we shall not have another opportunity of going into this, I wonder why, when we have such a vast extension of works in different places, apparently, as I read it, anything which is necessary' for watering roads is not equally to the public advantage. Surely that would be equally to the public advantage, and the vehicles for this purpose should be let off the tax as well. I put forward that proposal because I thought it might be helpful. Also, I would like an explanation of what is meant, from a purely technical point of view, by the word "gullies" in this Subsection.

The Minister of War Transport (Mr. Barnes)

Subsection (4) deals with the vehicles of local authorities, as the hon. Member said, for cleansing and other public purposes. The tax schedule in 1933 placed these vehicles on a favourable rate basis. That is being maintained, but now these vehicles are being regraded like other vehicles of that particular type and will appear conveniently in the same taxation schedule. The hon. Member will recollect that the Chancellor, in his Budget speech, in dealing with the whole of this problem of regrading vehicles, undertook to modify the Schedule to enable them to be graded on a single-seat and ¼-ton basis to meet the requirements of the trade generally. Subsection (4) applies to the vehicles of local authorities in particular. I regret that I am not able to give him the technical explanation for which he asks, but the principle I have indicated covers this Subsection.

Mr. C. Williams

May I thank the right hon. Gentleman for the extraordinarily kind and courteous answer which he has given me? It will enable me to explain these difficult and technical matters to my constituents. May I also say that I regret he is unable to explain the word "gullies," especially with a Law Officer sitting next to him, but then I fully recognise that they are passing a lot of legislation about which they do not know very much.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.