HC Deb 10 March 1949 vol 462 cc1382-3
32. Mr. Janner

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power under what conditions petrol is allocated to Americans visiting this country.

Mr. Gaitskell

American and other overseas visitors who bring a private car or motor cycle with them or who buy a new one here for subsequent export are granted an allowance to cover the journey by direct route from the port of entry to their furthest destination in the United Kingdom and thence to their port of departure. In addition they receive a special allowance for touring which varies with the length of stay. For example, a visitor who stays one month receives sufficient petrol for 1,000 miles of touring. Visitors who wish to use a car for business journeys in this country, can obtain a separate allowance for this purpose.

Mr. Janner

Is my right hon. Friend aware that visitors from America and other countries often want to borrow their friends' cars here, which are laid up, but are told that they must either buy a car or bring one over with them, as they cannot get an allowance of petrol to use in their friends' cars?

Mr. Gaitskell

Yes, Sir. I have frequently explained to the House why it is very difficult to grant an allowance for use in cars belonging to British persons. Obviously in any such proposal there are very grave dangers of abuse, but we are going into the matter again to see if there is any possibility of development on those lines.

Captain Crookshank

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the great bulk of the American tourists coming to this country are people of very moderate means, and that some advantage to them in the way of borrowing cars would be very helpful in bringing them to this country?

Mr. Gaitskell

I am quite aware of that, but I must also be careful to see that as a result we do not lose dollars on balance.

Mr. Keeling

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that every dollar's worth of petrol given to an American is likely to be recouped tenfold by the amount of dollars spent while he is using that dollar's worth of petrol?