Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the Purchase Tax (Exemptions) (No. 3) Order, 1947 (S.R. & O., 1947, No. 1820), dated 21st August, 1947, made by the Treasury under the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1940, a copy of which Order was presented on 20th October, be approved."—[Mr. Glenvil Hall.]
§ 12.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Peake (Leeds, North)
This Order, relating to road vehicles, follows on an Order made in June this year, when the Financial Secretary came to the House with an Order the main purpose of which was to bring what are known as utility 1277 vehicles within the scope of the Purchase Tax—
§ Mr. Peake
The hon. Member is going a little too fast. This Order is consequential on the Order passed in June, which was debated in the House, and the main purpose of which was to bring utility vehicles within the scope of the Purchase Tax. At the time that Order was discussed, it was pointed out from these benches, not only that it was undesirable to impose Purchase Tax on utility vehicles, but that the definition therein proposed, which defined such vehicles, so far as I remember, as possessing side windows to the rear of the driver's seat, was itself a definition which would bring within the scope of the Purchase Tax a large number of vehicles which ought to be excluded from that tax on the ground that they were commercial vehicles. It is quite evident that the criticisms which we made of the definition on that occasion were fully justified, because if Members will look at the Schedule to this Order they will see a long list of the types of vehicles which were brought within the scope of the Purchase Tax as recently as June last, but which will now be excluded from the scope of that tax by the operation of this Order.
On that occasion it was pointed out that the Home Secretary's "Black Marias" would probably have to bear Purchase Tax, and, in consequence, we now see that prison vans are to be excluded from the tax. We go further and find that bullion vans, mobile cinemas, mobile canteens, travelling libraries, travelling shops, mobile printing presses, pantechnicons, and horseboxes are to be excluded from the scope of the Purchase Tax. I remember also pointing out that, so far as I could see, hearses were vehicles which contained side windows to the rear of the driver's seat, and were constructed for the carriage of passengers. The Financial Secretary doubted whether hearses were constructed for the carriage of passengers. It is evidently now admitted that the original Order included hearses within the scope of the tax, and 1278 that that was going beyond the object of the Order made last June. I should like the right hon. Gentleman to explain to the House why, while this Order excludes hearses from the scope of the tax, it goes on to say… but not including hearsettes.Is there any Member of the House other than the right hon. Gentleman who knows what a hearsette is? I presume that it is a miniature, or toy, hearse, but before we pass this Order, I think we ought to have the matter explained to us.
There is a further point about which I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman. All these vehicles were brought within the scope of the Purchase Tax for the first time in June of this year. The new Order comes into operation as from the first day of September. What is the position as regards Purchase Tax on prison vans, bullion vans, pantechnicons, horse-boxes, hearses and hearsettes which have been bought between June and 1st September this year? Is the tax paid on them to be refunded?
§ 12.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
The right hon. Gentleman is quite right. This Order arises out of a promise which I gave when we had a Debate in June or July, following the Order which had been made bringing what were termed shooting brakes, otherwise utility vehicles, within the scope of Purchase Tax. I said then that although we had consulted the trade, it had been very difficult to arrive at a definition of the kind of vehicle we had in mind without catching up in the net a number of vehicles of various kinds which quite obviously were commercially used and not strictly passenger-carrying, and which we would normally like to see excluded. We have since then, been in touch with the trade, and, as this Order shows, we now, in its Schedule, exclude vehicles by name which we think should be excluded. I would like to inform the right hon. Gentleman that prison vans and fire tenders have been subject to the tax since Purcase Tax was instituted in 1940, and what we are doing now is to take the opportunity, I hope rightly, of excluding them from the burden of Purchase Tax.
A hearsette, I am told, is a limousine which carries passengers but which has in front provision made for a small child's 1279 coffin, say, that of a baby. These are quite obviously passenger - carrying vehicles, which it would not be difficult to make, with slight alterations by removal of the front part, into ordinary passenger-carrying vehicles. We have therefore thought it right not to include them here. As to the payment of Purchase Tax on vehicles mentioned in the Order between the date when the first Order came into force and now, I understand that there is not a very large number but we fully realise that the tax will have been paid on some of these, and, where that has happened, we are very willing to deal with them individually if application is made to Customs and Excise.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
That the Purchase Tax (Exemptions) (No. 3) Order, 1947 (S.R. & O., 1947, No. 1820), dated 21st August, 1947, made by the Treasury under the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1940, a copy of which Order was presented on 20th October, be approved.