HC Deb 22 June 1950 vol 476 cc1707-50
1.—(1) This Part of this Schedule applies to vehicles which—
(a) are not chargeable goods under Group 35 in Part 1 of the Eighth Schedule to the Finance Act, 1948; but
(b) would have been so if the Bill for this Act as originally presented to the House of Commons had been passed without amendment;
and in respect of which purchase tax would have been chargeable if that Bill had been so passed.
(2) In this Part of this Schedule the expression "relevant vehicle" means a vehicle to which this Part of this Schedule applies, the expression "budget day" means the eighteenth
90 day of April, nineteen hundred and fifty, and the expression "process of manufacture" has the same meaning as in section sixteen of the Finance Act, 1946.
2. Subject to paragraph 5 of this Part of this Schedule, where a relevant vehicle was sold in the course of a business under a purchase made after budget day and before the date of the passing of this Act at a price exceeding the price at which, in the ordinary course
95 of that business, similar vehicles were sold or offered for sale immediately before budget day, the buyer shall be entitled to deduct from the price, or (if he has paid the price) to recover from the seller as money received by him for the use of the buyer, an amount equal to the excess, except in so far as the seller proves that the excess was included in the price by reference to matters other than—
100 (a) his prospective liability by virtue of this Act to purchase tax in respect of the vehicle; or
(b) any increase attributable to the prospective liability as aforesaid of any other person in the price charged to the seller on a contract made by him after budget day for the purchase of the vehicle or for the application of a process of manufacture
105 resulting in the vehicle.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Schedule be read a Second time."—[Sir S. Cripps.]

Mr. Hollis (Devizes)

When the new Clause relating to Purchase Tax was being discussed a day or two ago I thought we were agreed that it was very important to get a fair definition of what was meant by the word "chassis." I thought the Solicitor-General had no difference of opinion with the rest of us that the definition given was by no means clear at that time. It is true that the Debate was carried on at that time with a certain amount of light-heartedness, but I think that we all understood that there was seriousness behind it. Therefore, it is important that we should now see whether we have any clearer definition of this word in this Schedule. I cannot think that we have.

In subsection (2) where the matter is first tackled, we are told a certain number of things that a chassis is not. It is not, apparently, a cab, or an accumulator or a turn-table. If anything is not a cab, an accumulator or a turntable, it is for the Commissioners to make up their minds whether it is a chassis or not. One thinks of the old Victorian porter, who, considering what he should do with the livestock which had appeared on his railway, said, "Dogs is dogs, and rabbits is dogs, but a tortoise is an insect and therefore, travels free." One would not think that an important commercial Clause was to be inserted into the laws of this land. Then we come to this: … the Commissioners to determine for any chassis or type of chassis what parts and accessories are, for the purposes of this paragraph, to be deemed to belong to a complete chassis, or to be additions thereto, and what type of any part or accessory deemed to belong to a complete chassis a chassis lacking that part or accessory is to be treated for those purposes as having. I think that the Chancellor really deserves the title of the "Shadwell" of the Treasury Bench for that one.

The poet Dryden, hon. Gentlemen may recall, wrote of one whom he considered the worst poet of his day, and said: The rest to some faint meaning make pretence, But Shadwell never deviates into sense. Well, we go from strength to strength, and from precedent to precedent, and after line 47, we see some of the things on which this tax is not charged. These include hearses, but not hearsettes, and we shall, perhaps, hear from the Financial Secretary of that important distinction. Then it is a great comfort to be informed that we are not to pay Purchase Tax on travelling lavatories. I have never come across a motor travelling lavatory, but it will be realised that great opportunity may be offered for tax evasion. I should imagine that it will be difficult for the courts to decide whether a motor vehicle which contains a lavatory, exists for the purpose of containing a lavatory, or for the carriage of passengers who may make use of it. For this, the Government will be remembered to all eternity.

Then, in line 70, we have a bland statement—I am omitting two other sections—which reads: 4. Where the Commissioners are satisfied—

  1. (a) that purchase tax has become chargeable in respect of a road vehicle chassis;
  2. (b) that the chassis has been used for the construction of a vehicle which is neither a goods vehicle within the meaning of the last foregoing paragraph nor a vehicle falling within paragraph (a) or (d) of subparagraph (2) of that paragraph; and
  3. (c) that the chassis has not previously been used for the construction of a vehicle;
the purchase tax chargeable in respect of the chassis shall be remitted or, if it has been paid, shall be repaid. It is possible that (b) and (c) make other qualifications upon that particular chassis, but in what sense the tax is chargeable—that is, if it is not chargeable—is something which I hope will be explained. There is one other point from Part II, and I must explain that I am no expert in these things. I am no lawyer, but it seems extraordinary to read: 1.—(1) This Part of this Schedule applies to vehicles which—
  1. (a) are not chargeable goods under Group 35 in Part I of the Eighth Schedule to the Finance Act, 1948; but
  2. (b) would have been so if the Bill for this Act as originally presented to the House of Commons had been passed without amendment;".
That is to say, we are referred to something which, by definition, no longer exists. I should, indeed, be grateful if our lawyer Members can tell me if there is any precedent for referring subjects of His Majesty to words which, by definition, no longer exist. If that old Schedule, though not in the Bill as such, is still a part of the Bill in the sense it is referred to, I do not know whether we must not consider that we have a right to discuss certain other Amendments.

3.0 a.m.

I do not want to take the Committee's time any longer. We did, on the new Clause, have some occasion to call attention to the fact that it was difficult to understand that chassisless vehicles were chassis and all the rest, but I will not go into that argument. We asked, not for reasons of flippancy, if it was possible to express these matters clearly. That was a very important reason why they should not have been put into the law at all.

We eagerly study the Schedule to see if the right hon. and learned Gentleman made clearer some of the things which were left confused by the original Clause. It seems that the confusions of the Clause are as nothing compared with the confusions of the Schedule, and it would be impossible for any subject of His Majesty or for any judge to decide who is liable to this tax and who is not liable. I would welcome it if the Chancellor would agree to withdraw the Schedule and, on the Report stage, give us something that is at least intelligible and something remotely resembling the King's English.

Mr. H. Strauss

I wish to add to the very important point on Lines 84 and 85. I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman will realise the extremely important issues which are raised by putting lines such as these into an Act of Parliament. Let me remind the Committee how Clause 1 (1) of Part II runs: This Part of this Schedule applies to vehicles which—

  1. (a) are not chargeable goods under Group 35 in Part 1 of the Eighth Schedule to the Finance Act, 1948; but
  2. (b) would have been so if the Bill for this Act as originally presented to the House of Commons had been passed without amendment;
and in respect of which purchase tax would have been chargeable if that Bill had been so passed. The position is much worse than was indicated even by my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Hollis), who said that that would make it necessary to look back at a Schedule which has been abandoned or a Clause which has been abandoned. It would necessitate looking at the entire Finance Bill as it was originally introduced. Indeed, it would. Is it suggested that when this Act is printed by His Majesty's Stationery Office and when it is used in the courts, the whole of the Bill as originally introduced is going to be printed with it? If it is not, how is any practitioner to see what the position is? How are the courts to construe this?

My hon. Friend the Member for Devizes asked if there were any precedents for this. I think I am right in saying there are at least two precedents—on the last occasion we debated this matter I drew it to the attention of the House of Commons—for the phrase, "the Bill for this Act." That is rare enough, but it does appear, as far as I can remember, in at least two Statutes simply to define a date "as from the date when the Bill for this Act was introduced"; but I know of no precedent and I can think of none in an Act, where you are referred to what the law would have been if the extremely long Bill as originally presented to the House of Commons had been passed without amendment.

I believe it is the desire of hon. Members in all quarters of the Committee that an Act of Parliament passed by this House should be as comprehensible as possible. It is sometimes thought that the legal profession likes obscurity of this kind. It is not so. This sort of thing, I submit, is more offensive to the legal Members in the Committee than to anybody else, but I think every layman here will join in the protest against passing a Bill in so fantastic a form.

I wonder really if this Committee can view with indifference the comments that will be made by the judiciary if we pass legislation in this form. I have sympathy with the Solicitor-General because everybody knows how hard he is working and I do not know how far this matter had been brought to his attention before my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes and I raised it; but I ask him to say whether it is proposed to print in every copy of this Bill, when it becomes an Act, a copy of the Bill as originally introduced.

If it is not so proposed, it will be impossible to construe the Bill now before us when it becomes an Act of Parliament. If it is proposed to annex the whole of the Bill, as originally introduced, to this Bill as it will be when we have passed it and it becomes an Act, then the unnecessary labour which will be thrown upon every practitioner, upon the courts and indeed upon every citizen who tries to ascertain the position will be quite intolerable. I hope the Solicitor-General will say that it is quite impossible for the Government to recommend that Parliament should accept this Schedule in this form.

Mr. Peter Thorneycroft (Monmouth)

I think the whole Committee must be grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Hollis) and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Mr. H. Strauss) for the point they have put and the attention they have drawn to the drafting of this Schedule. The fact is that the more and the closer one looks at the Schedule, the more certain the whole Committee will be that it will have to be withdrawn.

May I say what I think is the fundamental difficulty in which the Government find themselves about the whole of this matter? They set out—we thought quite wrongly when we debated the principle—to impose a tax upon commercial vehicles. They then found that it would be quite impossible to impose a tax on the bodies of a great number of these vehicles. We could have told them that before, because a great many of them are in the form of chassis only; so they dropped that side of their proposal.

They decided, instead, to try to tax the chassis of a commercial vehicle. To their great horror they discovered that a great many had no chassis. The result is that all they have done, as will be seen from the Schedule, is to throw the whole burden of deciding what is to be taxed on to the Commissioners. I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman to explain to us what are the limitations, if any, placed on the discretion of the Commissioners in paragraph 1 (3). It seems to me that, subject to the fact that they must not tax a driver's cab or accumulators, they can tax anything they like, up to the whole vehicle, provided they do not tax at more than 33⅓ per cent. It is a very curious way of legislating. One would have thought that this Committee would have had closer control of the amount of taxation to be imposed on the subjects of the Crown.

Secondly, they found that it would not be right to tax a whole range of vehicles which ordinarily would come within the mischief of this Clause, so they then proceeded to set out a whole list of vehicles which would be excluded. We propose in our later discussions to submit Amendments of additional vehicles which we think should also be excluded. But I should like to ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman, or somebody else on behalf of the Government, to explain to us—I think it would shorten our later discussion—the principle upon which they are working.

Upon what principle are they excluding some commercial vehicles and including some others? It may be that there is a common theme which runs through travelling lavatories, pedestrian-controlled vehicles, and a hearse, but if there is some common principle of that kind I think the Committee ought to be told what it is in order that the public should know why some of their vehicles bear a rather savage rate of taxation while others are tax free.

My third point is this. It may be quite plain to others, but it is not plain to me: what is the position about the trailer? Certainly it is a goods vehicle constructed for use on the road and it is adapted for the carriage of goods and it will not move at all unless it is mechanically propelled. On the face of it one would have thought that it was included in the mischief of the Clause, but I have been assured that in the general view it is excluded. Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us whether it is in or out? If trailers are not included within the mischief of the Clause, why is it necessary to exempt caravans? I think some explanation of matters of that kind are necessary before we part with the Schedule.

The fourth point to which I would draw the attention of the Solicitor-General is this. What is the position about passenger vehicles? If I could call attention to paragraph 3 (2), hon. Members will see that it reads: In this paragraph the expression 'goods vehicle' means a mechanically propelled road vehicle constructed … for … the haulage of goods … but does not include … —and if hon. Members look down the list they will see that it does not include some types of passenger vehicle. By implication, then, it does include other types of passenger vehicle.

Mr. Pannell (Leeds, West)

Such as what? Would the hon. Member particularise?

3.15 a.m.

Mr. Thorneycroft

I wish I could. It is quite impossible to find out. I am grateful for the hon. Member's intervention, which exposes the nonsense of the Schedule.

Mr. Pannell

I can only say that I think the hon. Member is making very heavy weather of a matter which would be answered by anybody with knowledge in the trade.

Mr. Thorneycroft

It may be that the hon. Member, without the Order Paper, finds things a great deal easier than I do with one. I can assure him that many hours of patient research have been given to this by my hon. Friends and myself. It is extraordinary to start a paragraph by defining a goods vehicle, which, you would have thought, would be a vehicle which carries goods, and then to exclude from it vehicles which carry passengers. It may be that there is a good explanation.

In the original Bill referred to in the second part of the Schedule, certain forms of passenger vehicle were included—the smaller ones carrying under 12 persons. I do not know whether there has been any change in the Government's policy on that. Will they say if there has, and if so, how it fits into this wording? Among the excluded in 2 (b) you see: vehicles which are constructed or adapted mainly for the carriage of passengers but are exempt from purchase tax. … under paragraph (c) of Group 35, in Part I of the Eighth Schedule to the Finance Act, 1948. If you look at that you find hearses are not included. But not content with that, the Clause goes on to exclude them again. Why this morbid interest in the dead?

I think I and my hon. Friends have said enough to show that this bears the marks of a hurriedly drafted Schedule. It is a disgrace, a barbaric Schedule, and I think I would carry the whole Committee with me in saying that the best thing the Government could do would be to withdraw it altogether.

Sir W. Wakefield

When the Clause on Purchase Tax on chassis and road vehicles was discussed, we were told by the Government that it should be discussed in connection with this Schedule. The Solicitor-General said how difficult it was to explain what was meant by a chassisless vehicle, and the definitions that have been given on parts of this Schedule show how utterly wrong it is for this Committee to pass these definitions in the way they are in the new Clause and in the Schedule.

The point I want to make is that in so far as the chassis-less vehicle is concerned there is no need to be in any difficulty about the definition. The chassis-less vehicle is an integral vehicle, and all that it is necessary to say is that in such a vehicle the following parts are defined for purposes of Purchase Tax—power unit, transmission unit, wheels, and so forth. If that is done there is no doubt whatever what part of the integral vehicle is due to pay Purchase Tax. That is a simple, straightforward way of doing it. It is wrong that the Commissioners should have to decide something which Parliament, if there is proper drafting, can decide here.

We understand that the road vehicles that carry passengers are not to be charged Purchase Tax. If that is so, why is it that the London taxicab, which is specially designed for carrying passengers on a commercial basis, is charged with Purchase Tax? It would not have been necessary to raise fares to the same extent if the Purchase Tax had been removed, as we asked some time ago. I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to include London taxicabs with other passenger vehicles, and exclude them from Purchase Tax.

Mr. Foster

This Schedule is drafted is a very complicated way. I would ask the Committee to look at paras. 2, 3, 4, and 5 of Part II in particular, when they will realise that it is extremely difficult indeed to follow. Part II is designed to get the Purchase Tax refunded where somebody has paid it on a vehicle caught by the old Bill but not by the Bill as amended. That is clear, because it says so at the top, more or less. But when you try to follow it out, Part II begins by saying that this Part applies to certain vehicles, and goes on to say: the expression 'relevant vehicle' means a vehicle to which this part of the Schedule applies. That is bad enough, but then the draftsman really gets into his stride. What he is trying to say is that where somebody has paid more for a vehicle after Budget day than before Budget day, the difference shall be refunded, but it is to be reduced by the amount the person would be liable to under this Bill. The draftsman has had a very difficult time doing that, and says the amount shall be refunded other than the buyer's prospective liability by virtue of this Act to purchase tax in respect of the vehicle; Surely something better than that could be done. One of the main fallacies of this Schedule is that it does not start off by defining a chassis. That is the first thing that should be done. Then the strictures of my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Hollis) would be turned away to some extent, because it would be clear that the driver's cab, the accumulator, and the coupling gear, would not be part of the chassis.

It reminds me of a case in the House of Lords known as Noble v. Harrison, in which it was said, in one part of the judgment It is quite clear that a falling branch is not a tiger, nor is it sewage. It was clear to the judge, and, possibly, clear to us. You get into this difficulty by trying to define positive things by negatives. Obviously, there are lots of other things which a chassis "are not." The draftsman's imagination has stopped very short. A chassis is not either a roof, or a house, or many other things. If he wants to go further, and say what things shall be deemed to be an addition to the chassis, he could go on very much longer. What he wants is a definition Clause. He has to be careful not to define it in the way the definition is in the Dogs Act, 1926, where it is written: The expression 'cattle' in the Dogs Act. 1923, shall be deemed to include "poultry. The other warning I should like to give the right hon. and learned Gentleman is the definition in a Victorian Act which says that a well 100 feet deep shall be deemed to be a building 100 feet high. None of these definitions, when in keeping with the imagination of this particular draftsman, should be adopted. Joking apart, my hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (Mr. P. Thorneycroft) is absolutely right when he says that if the Government are determined to have this tax on chassis they really should withdraw this Schedule and draw up a simpler one, so that we know where we are. They should start off by defining a chassis in the first place, and then, with regard to the recovery of Purchase Tax, it should state that where a man paid Purchase Tax on a vehicle to which this Act applies he should get his Purchase Tax back.

Sir H. Williams

This discussion sent me to look up the Finance Act, 1948, and Group 35 in the Schedule and some of the items there, are, curiously enough, repeated in this Schedule. For instance, there are mobile cinemas and sound film production vehicles. There is a curious inconsistency, however, for in the 1948 Act we read: Mobile canteen, mobile clinics, travelling libraries, travelling shops, travelling show rooms and similar vehicles. All these are not mentioned in the present Bill, for there we have: Mobile canteens and shops, mobile clinics and travelling libraries. All sorts of things are included and excluded, and it can only be because the draftsman had to do the job in a hurry. I have only glanced at it in the short time I had, but it seems to me that the whole thing is more stupid than I thought, because in 1948 I see that bullion vans were to be exempt but in 1950 are to be taxed. That is, I suppose, because the Chancellor of the Exchequer is the only one who, today, commands all such vans.

The Solicitor-General

I do not think that the drafting of this Schedule merits the strictures which have been passed on it by some Members of the Committee. It is nothing like as difficult as has been made out, but if comments are made such as have been made by hon. Members opposite it can be made to look ridiculous. Part II of the Schedule, which has been referred to, lays down that where somebody has sold a commercial vehicle thinking that Purchase Tax was to be charged on it, the buyer who has paid the extra money is entitled to get it back.

Hon. Members asked why there was no definition of chassis. I think the term "chassis" is well understood in the motor trade and outside it, but the device which the draftsman has used is, in effect, to substitute something which amounts to a definition, by saying what is to be regarded as part of the chassis and what is not. He does that in paragraph 1 (2), and he says that the driver's cab, the accumulators and so on are not to be considered as part of the chassis when considering what is the wholesale value, on which the proposed tax is charged.

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Monmouth (Mr. P. Thorneycroft) asked if trailers are included. They are not, for the simple reason that they are not mechanically propelled vehicles. Then he asked what were the vehicles referred to in paragraph 3 (2, a). These are passenger vehicles as described in Clause 35 of Part I, and hon. Members will see that the reference is to passenger vehicles. The hon. Member asks why refer to passenger vehicles at all? For the simple reason that goods vehicles might carry passengers and goods as well. When we refer to goods vehicles we want to make sure that we are excluding passenger vehicles.

3.30 a.m.

With regard to the expression "chassis," it is a one-piece vehicle and I would have thought it a term reasonably clear in itself. With regard to paragraph 4, that simply provides where one has a chassis on which tax has been paid, and it is subsequently built into a vehicle which does not attract Purchase Tax, one can get the tax paid on the chassis back. If hon. Gentlemen opposite analysed the drafting in a rather less sceptical mood, they would see that the draftsmen have brought about, I will not say in simple, but in comparatively simple language, exactly what is intended.

Mr. H. Strauss

The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor-General, who is generally the most courteous and careful of Ministers, has not done himself justice on this occasion. I am certain I can satisfy all Members of the Committee who will take the trouble to listen. The point is simple and can be understood by every layman as well as by lawyers. I agree with the Solicitor-General that he may want to set out in Part II what would have been the position under the Bill as originally introduced, but then he must do it in words that explain what that position is. What is intolerable is for him to do it by reference, by saying: 1.—(1) This Part of this Schedule applies to vehicles which—

  1. (a) are not chargeable goods under Group 35 in Part I of the Eighth Schedule to the Finance Act, 1948; but
  2. (b) would have been so if the Bill for this Act as originally presented to the House of Commons had been passed without amendment; 1721 and in respect of which purchase tax would have been chargeable if that Bill had been so passed."
I put it to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is himself so distinguished a lawyer—and he will agree—that, if anyone wished to advise a client on what would be the position under the Bill as originally drafted, he would have to have the whole of that Bill before him. There would be no other safe way of doing it at all. I challenge either the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Solicitor-General to deny that proposition. Therefore, I put this simple, straight question to the Solicitor-General when I spoke before. I asked him whether this Bill as originally introduced was to be annexed as a schedule to this Finance Bill as finally passed, so that it would be printed in the volume of Statutes available to judges and practitioners.

As I see it, and I hope I am not making an unfair point, the Government are faced with this simple dilemma. Either they are not going to print this Bill as originally introduced in the volume of the Statutes, in which case it will be impossible for anybody reading the Finance Act to find what the thing means. They will have to get a long additional document from somewhere else, perhaps from His Majesty's Stationery Office. Or if they print the whole thing complete, then anybody who wants to find out what it means has to read a whole Act of Parliament and also the whole Bill as originally introduced.

In the interests of the reputation of this Parlament, this House and Committee, I beg the right hon. and learned Solicitor-General to address himself to the substance of this complaint. I ask him whether he can find any precedent in any Act of Parliament at all for lines 84 and 85 as they stand in this Schedule. If he cannot find any precedent, or answer to that simple question I have put to him, then it is intolerable to ask the Committee to accept this Schedule.

Sir Patrick Spens (Kensington, South)

May I reinforce what my hon. and learned Friend has just said? As far as I know there has never been a definition in an Act of Parliament for which one would have to go to the Bill as originally introduced. I know of no precedent. This is a definition Clause, defining vehicles. Could the Solicitor-General say whether any layman could purchase a copy of a Bill introduced to this House but which had never become law, assuming he wished to advise a client or present an argument to the courts?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The Solicitor-General made no reference to the points to which my hon. and learned Friends the Members for Norwich, South (Mr. H. Strauss) and Kensington, South (Sir P. Spens) again referred. I do not think we can pass from the matter until we are told what the Government intend to do about this. The whole purpose of paragraph 2 is to show to which vehicles it is intended to refer and that is the only purpose for having it here. But when it is taken by itself it does not tell one anything: it merely refers to the Bill as originally introduced to the House. The Solicitor-General knows perfectly well that as time passes it will be a matter of extreme difficulty to obtain a Bill. A Bill in its original form is extremely difficult to obtain when the Act has passed to the Statute Book.

There is a second consideration, and that is that the Act in its present form will refer to something which has no statutory form at all. If this is to mean anything the original Bill will have to be scheduled to the final Act and not merely a part of it, for it says: and in respect of which Purchase Tax would have been chargeable if that Bill had been so passed. No one can be certain that Purchase Tax would have been so chargeable, unless and until he has seen the Bill to which reference has been made. As a matter of drafting this will not do. It is a matter for the Government if they care to make fools of themselves. They have done so before, and will no doubt, if they remain, do so again. But it is a different thing when they try to make fools of the House and the Committee. People outside, of all political views and none, will undoubtedly consider that the Committee will make a consummate fool of itself if it allows this Schedule to be placed on the Statute Book.

The Solicitor-General

Perhaps I can shorten this discussion a little by saying that I will certainly pay attention to the points raised by the hon. and learned Member for Norwich, South (Mr. H. Strauss) and the hon. and learned Member for Kensington, South (Sir P. Spens). We will see whether we can improve the actual words of the subsections about which there has been complaint. I was asked whether there was a precedent for this kind of thing. In the Finance Act of 1947 there is a reference to a Ways and Means Resolution. But we will see what we can do regarding that particular piece of drafting. We may have to make it longer, but it will be easier to refer to. There is one other point. This is not part of a Schedule which will have permanent application. It will only apply to a limited number of contracts entered into within a very limited space of time, and it will soon have spent its force.

Sir H. Williams

The Solicitor-General said that the vehicles are described as passenger vehicles. But if he will turn to the words of the new Schedule he will find that it refers to: vehicles of the following descriptions which are designed and permanently fitted solely or mainly for a function other than the carriage of passengers or goods … These vehicles would also carry people. Therefore, these things are substantially

the same. I would ask him to consider my point as well.

The Solicitor-General

I was referring to section 35 (a) of the Finance Act, 1938.

Mr. H. Strauss

I wonder if I might shorten the Debate by one question to the Solicitor-General. I think his reference to the Ways and Means Resolution was not a very close parallel, because that is something which, at any rate at one time, had the force of law. What I am going to ask him is whether the meaning of what he said when he promised to reconsider this piece of drafting was that he will put into this Schedule something which makes it unnecessary to consider the law as it would have been if the Bill as originally introduced had been passed. If that is what he means I think it will be possible for us to make progress. But, if that is not the case, I think it puts some of us into a difficult position.

Question put, "That the Schedule be read a Second time."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 202; Noes, 183.

Division No. 45.] AYES [3.46 a.m.
Acland, Sir Richard Davies, Harold (Leek) Herbison, Miss M
Adams, Richard Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Hewitson, Capt. M
Albu, A. H Deer, G. Hobson, C. R.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) Delargy, H. J. Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)
Awbery, S. S. Dodds, N. N. Houghton, Douglas
Ayles, W. H. Donnelly, D. Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, N.)
Bacon, Miss A. Driberg, T. E. N Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)
Baird, J. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Bartley, P. Edelman, M. Hughes, Moelwyn (Islington, N.)
Berwick, F. Edwards, John (Brighouse) Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Bing, G. H. C. Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)
Blackburn, A. R. Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)
Blenkinsop, A. Evans, E. (Lowestoft) Janner, B.
Boardman, H. Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Jay, D. P. T.
Booth, A. Ewart, R. Jenkins, R. H.
Bowden, H. W. Fernyhough, E. Johnson, James (Rugby)
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) Field, Capt. W. J. Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Finch, H. J. Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Brook, D. (Halifax) Freeman, J. (Watford) Jones, William Elwyn (Conway)
Brooks, T. J. (Normanton) Freeman, Peter (Newport) Keenan, W.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T N Kenyon, C.
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Gibson, C. W. Key, Rt. Hon. C W
Burton, Miss E. Gordon, Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. King, H. M.
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Greenwood, A. W. J. (Rossendale) Kinley, J.
Champion, A. J. Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield) Lee, F. (Newton)
Chetwynd, G. R Grey, C. F. Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)
Clunie, J. Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Lindgren, G. S
Coldrick, W. Griffiths, W. D. (Exchange) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.
Collick, P. Gunter, R. J. Longden, F. (Small Heath)
Collindridge, F. Hale, J. (Rochdale) MacColl, J. E.
Cooper, G. (Middlesbrough, W.) Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Mackay, R. W. G. (Reading, N.)
Cooper, J. (Deptford) Hall, J. (Gateshead, W.) McLeavy, F.
Cove, W. G. Hall, Rt. Hn. W. Glenvil (Colne V'll'y) McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Hamilton, W. W. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Cripps, Rt. Hon. Sir S. Hannan, W. Mainwaring, W. H.
Crosland, C. A. R. Hardman, D. R Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Cullen, Mrs. A. Hardy, E A. Mallalieu, J. P. W (Huddersfield, E.)
Daines, P. Hargreaves, A Manuel, A. C.
Darling, G. (Hillsboro') Harrison, J. Mellish, R. J.
Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.) Hastings, Dr. Somerville Messer, F.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Hayman, F. H. Mitchison, G. R
Moeran, E. W Richards, R. Vernon, Maj W F
Monslow, W. Robens, A. Viant, S. P.
Moody, A. S. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire) Wallace, H. W
Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Robertson, J. J. (Berwick) Watkins, T E
Moyle, A. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N) Weitzman, D
Mulley, F. W Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.) Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Murray, J D. Ross, William (Kilmarnock) Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Nally, W Royle, C. White, Mrs. E. (E. Flint)
Neal, H. Shackleton, E. A. A. While, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Orbach, M. Silverman, J. (Erdington) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W
Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Dearne V'lly) Silverman, S. S. (Nelson) Wilcock, Group-Capt C. A. B
Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Simmons, C J Wilkes, L.
Pannell, T. C Slater, J Wilkins, W. A.
Pargiter, G. A Snow, J. W. Willey, F. T (Sunderland)
Paton, J Sorensen, R. W Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Pearson, A Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir F Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Peart, T. F. Steele, T. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Poole, Cecil Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.) Williams, W. T (Hammersmith, S.)
Porter, G. Stross, Dr. B. Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Huyton)
Price, M. Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Sylvester, G. O. Winterbottom, I. (Nottingham, C.)
Proctor, W T. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth) Winterbottom, R. E. (Brightside)
Pursey, Comdr. H Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare) Wise, Major F. J
Rankin, J Thomas, George (Cardiff) Woods, Rev. G. S
Rees, Mrs. D Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin) Yates, V. F.
Reeves, J. Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton) Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Reid, T. (Swindon) Timmons, J.
Reid, W (Camlachie) Tomney, F. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Sparks.
Aitken, W. T. Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Maude, J. C. (Exeter)
Alport, C. J. M. Gates, Maj. E. E. Maudling, R
Amory, D. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Gridley, Sir A. Mellor, Sir J
Arbuthnot, John Grimston, Hon. J. (St. Albans) Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Grimston, R. V. (Westbury) Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)
Astor, Hon. M. Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.) Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)
Baldock, J. M. Harris, R. R. (Heston) Nabarro, G.
Baldwin, A. E. Harvey, Air-Codre, A. V. (Macclesfield) Nicholls, H.
Banks, Col. C. Hay, John Nield, B. (Chester)
Baxter, A. B. Heald, L. F. Nutting, Anthony
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Oakshott, H. D
Bell, R. M. Higgs, J. M. C. Odey, G. W.
Bennett, R. F B (Gosport) Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
Birch, Nigel Hill, Dr. C. (Luton) Perkins, W. R. D.
Bishop, F. P Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Black, C. W. Hirst, Geoffrey Pickthorn, K.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Hollis, M. C. Powell, J. Enoch
Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich) Prescott, Stanley
Brains, B. Hopkinson, H L. D'A Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G. Hornsby-Smith, Miss P. Profumo, J. D
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. Howard, G. R. (St. Ives) Raikes, H. V
Brooke, H. (Hampstead) Howard, S. G. (Cambridgeshire) Redmayne, M.
Browne, J. N. (Govan) Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Renton, D L. M.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Robinson, J. Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Bullock, Capt. M. Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J. Robson-Brown, W. (Esher)
Burden, Squadron-Leader F. A Hutchinson, Geoffrey (Ilford, N.) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Carr, L. R. (Mitcham) Hyde, H. M. Roper, Sir H
Channon, H. Hylton-Foster, H. B. Russell, R. S
Clarke, Col. R. S. (East Grinstead) Jones, A. (Hall Green) Ryder, Capt. R E D
Clarke, Brig. T. H. (Portsmouth, W.) Kaberry, D. Scott, Donald
Colegate, A. Lancaster, Col. C G Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Langford-Holt, J. Smith, E. Martin (Grantham)
Cooper, A. E. (Ilford, S.) Leather, E. H. C. Smithers, Peter H. B. (Winchester)
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A H Smithers, Sir W (Orpington)
Craddock, G. B. (Spelthorne) Lindsay, Martin Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Cranborne, Viscount Llewellyn, D. Soames, Capt. C.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O E. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton) Spearman, A. C. M
Crouch, R. F. Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral) Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W)
Crowder, F. P. (Rulslip-Northwood) Lookwood, Lt.-Col. J. C Spens, Sir P. (Kensington, S.)
Darling, Sir W. Y. (Edinburgh, S.) Longden, G. J. M. (Herts, S. W.) Stanley, Capt. Hon. R. (N. Fylde)
Davidson, Viscountess Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Stevens, G. P.
Davies, Nigel (Epping) Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
de Chair, S. Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O. Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Deedes, W. F. McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M S Summers, G S
Digby, S. Wingfield Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight) Sutcliffe, H.
Drayson, G. B Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Drewe, C McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond) Maclay, Hon. J. S. Teeling, William
Duthie, W. S. MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.) Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Walter Macpherson, N. (Dumfries) Thompson, R. H. M (Croydon, W.)
Erroll, F. J. Maitland, Comdr. J. W Thorneycroft, G. E. P (Monmouth)
Fisher, Nigel Marlowe, A. A. H. Thornton-Kemsley, C N
Foster, J. G. Marshall, D. (Bodmin) Tilney, John
Fraser, Hon. H. C. P. (Stone) Marshall, S. H. (Sutton) Touche, G C
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok) Maude, A. E. U. (Ealing, S.) Turton, R. H.
Vane, W. M. F. Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Vaughan-Morgan, J K Waterhouse, Capt. C. Wood, Hon. R
Vosper, D. F. Watkinson, H. York, C.
Wakefield, E. B. (Derbyshire, W.) Webbe, Sir H. (London) Young, Sir A. S. L.
Wakefield, Sir W. W. (St. Marylebone) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Walker-Smith, D. C. Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, E.) Mr. Studholme and
Ward, Hon. G. R. (Worcester) Wills, G. Major Wheatley.
Mr. H. Strauss

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Schedule, to leave out lines 20 and 21.

These words will be found in Paragraph (3) of subsection 1 of Part I of this Schedule. Paragraph (3) runs as follows: Subject to the last foregoing sub-paragraph, it shall be for the Commissioners to determine for any chassis or type of chassis what parts and accessories are, for the purposes of this paragraph, to be deemed to belong to a complete chassis or to be additions thereto."— and then the words that I propose should be left out— and what type of any part or accessory deemed to belong to a complete chassis a chassis lacking that part or accessory is to be treated for those purposes as having. Anybody who thinks these words are not difficult to construe will be able to correct his view by asking his neighbour what he thinks they mean. I believe I have discovered what they mean. I will suggest the meaning to the Government and they will, no doubt, tell me if I am right in my interpretation. If I am, I think they will say that the words I suggest would no doubt state the meaning more clearly.

In proposing to leave the words out I am criticising the drafting. I think it becomes as nearly as possible incomprehensible in those two lines I have read and, indeed, in this Schedule generally. I should like to make it absolutely clear, as I have done before, and many hon. Members will agree with me, that I do not share in any general fun-making of the draftsmen. They work under extreme pressure; they work with extreme skill; and, in fact, they are very much overworked. What I suggest, however, is that in those two lines they have, in fact, failed.

I was a little encouraged in raising these points by the fact that an hon. Member opposite had an interesting letter in yesterday's "Times" on the subject of drafting; I refer to the hon. Member for the Test Division of Southampton (Dr. King) and he quite rightly made a protest against language of obscurity. What I believe these words mean is this: "… and the Commissioners may determine what type of any part or accessory shall be deemed to belong to a complete chassis, whether in fact the chassis has that part or accessory or not." I suggest if that is what it means, it would be simpler to say so. If not, at least let some comprehensible words be put in the place of the words now there.

The Solicitor-General

I think those two lines are absolutely necessary and, I would submit, they are quite clear in their purport. Suppose a chassis leaves the manufacturer incomplete. As we charge tax on the value of the complete chassis, we have to decide in regard to the missing parts what type we would assume would belong to that chassis. If the chassis be fitted with a more or less expensive part on it the Commissioners have to decide what would be the appropriate type of missing part to fit into that chassis. They decide that tax can be charged upon the value of the complete chassis having that type of part.

Amendment negatived.

4.0 a.m.

Sir Austin Hudson (Lewisham, North)

I beg to move as an Amendment to the proposed Schedule, in line 52, to leave out "(but not including hearsettes)."

I asked a number of people what a hearsette was, and I never discovered any friend of mine who knew. So I rang up an undertaker and he told me this vehicle was constructed to take coffins as well as mourners. If the Chancellor sees fit to exclude hearses, why does he not exclude hearsettes? In other words, why, if the corpse travels alone should it be exempt from Purchase Tax while, when it is accompanied, it has to pay tax? I expect the Government will argue that the vehicle could be used for other purposes, but could not a hearse equally be used for other purposes? I have, in fact, seen one being used for carrying goods other than those for which it was designed. I do not see why the hearsette should be singled out.

I need not argue the matter at length, but I would point out that neither hearses nor hearsettes are always constructed originally for that purpose. We all know that most of those we have seen are old vehicles of the Daimler or Rolls Royce type which have been adapted for the purpose. If some enterprising person wants to make an impressive hearsette for use in his part of the country, we do not see why he should not do so. If a hearse is excluded we do not see why a hearsette should not be excluded, too.

Mr. Jay

I am happy to say that we are able to accept this Amendment. I hasten to add that our doing so will not have the slightest effect. Being vehicles which are interchangeable with ordinary passenger vehicles, hearsettes are already taxed under group 35 in Part I of the Schedule to the Finance Act of 1948 and, therefore, there is no need to ensure that they are taxed here by excluding them from exemption.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Geoffrey Wilson (Truro)

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Schedule, in line 58, at the end to insert: unless such composite vehicle is one of the other excepted vehicles comprised in subhead (c) of sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph 3 of Part I of this Schedule. This attempts to overcome what appears to be an anomaly. As the Schedule is at present drafted, it appears that certain types of vehicle are exempted from taxation under sub-paragraph (c). Under sub-paragraph (d) tractors and locomotives are also exempt. They are not exempt, however, if they are designed for use as part of a composite vehicle. That is notwithstanding the fact that a composite vehicle might be a vehicle used for one of the purposes set out in subparagraph (c).

It might so happen that a vehicle was constructed as a refuse collecting vehicle and, in fact, some refuse collecting vehicles are composite vehicles. It would appear that a refuse collecting vehicle is exempt if it is only one vehicle, and it is certainly exempt if it consists of a tractor and a trailer, but if it happens to be a composite vehicle it is subject to taxation, which seems to me to be illogical. The use of composite vehicles is something which should be encouraged, not discouraged. These vehicles are extremely useful for certain classes of traffic. In congested traffic they turn easily and they take less room than any specialised vehicle which is not composite. The composite vehicle is also of great value where a vehicle has to wait a long time loading or unloading.

A good number of the vehicles mentioned in sub-paragraph (c) might very well be composite. It might well be useful to have a canteen attached to a detachable motor. This is not an academic point, because the Committee will remember that under the Factories Acts Regulations works of engineering construction are subject to the provisions of the Acts and contractors are now liable to provide such things as canteens and lavatories at all sorts of sites away from buildings. It may well be that some of these facilities have to be provided in mobile form and that composite vehicles would be very useful for such purposes. Therefore, I suggest that it is illogical that this very useful type of vehicle should be subject to tax when a single vehicle is not.

Mr. Jay

The hon. Gentleman's Amendment seeks to exempt the motive unit of the articulated vehicle. As he rightly stated, as the Schedule now stands, the motive unit of the non-articulated vehicle, known as the towing vehicle, is exempt under sub-paragraph (d) to subsection 2, whereas the motive unit of the articulated vehicle is subject to tax. That does appear to be illogical on the face of it, but the reason is that the motive unit of the articulated vehicle is in fact capable of use as a general purpose haulage unit on the roads, and there it is just as suitable for this tax as any other road vehicle.

Mr. G. Wilson

It is appreciated that this Amendment would only apply to articulated vehicles used for the purposes of sub-paragraph (c), such as the accepted purposes of travelling lavatories, canteens, and so on.

Mr. Jay

Certainly, but my point is that these motive units are capable of use for general haulage on the roads. Tractors and locomotives, on the other hand, under sub-paragraph (d)—that is, towing units, in the case of the non-articulated units—are used almost entirely on farms, and for farm purposes, and for that reason we wish to exempt that type on the general principle of not taxing vehicles mainly used on farms and in woodland country. Therefore, I think it is perfectly logical to extend the tax to what is a general purpose road haulage vehicle, and exempt the tractors and locomotives used on the farm.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

That explanation seems to me to reveal clearly the extraordinary muddle the Government have got into. The Financial Secretary says: "Never mind, the vehicle concerned is intended to be excluded on no rule of logic," and so, by the merest accident of design, as the vehicle happens to be a semi-articulated vehicle, it has to bear 33⅓ per cent. Purchase Tax, whereas if a towing vehicle and a trailer were used it would not have to pay tax at all.

It is an extraordinary sort of tax law to impose on vehicle manufacturers. I do not know whether it is worth while dividing on this matter—I am willing to do so on the slightest provocation—but I think we might content ourselves with calling the Committee's attention to the incredible stupidity of a tax of this kind.

Mr. David Kenton (Huntingdon)

Can the Financial Secretary give the Committee some idea how his remarks are to be applied to the justification which the Government used for having this Purchase Tax? Can he say how the fine distinction he has made has any relation whatever to the export trade? Can he say whether these articulated vehicles which he describes as being capable of use for general haulage on roads are vehicles which he wishes to divert to the export trade; and whether, on the other hand, the towing units are units which he is not in the least interested in having exported? If we could have an answer to that it would enable us to clarify our minds.

Mr. Jay

I should have thought that the answer, like the question, was quite simple. We seek to restrict investment on road goods vehicles. The articulated vehicle is a general purpose road goods vehicle, and therefore comes within the general principles of the tax.

Amendment negatived.

Sir W. Wakefield

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Schedule, in line 58, at the end, to insert: (c) battery electric vehicles designed and permanently fitted solely or mainly for the carriage of goods. Various arguments have been advanced for putting Purchase Tax on goods commercial vehicles because of their use of petrol. Obviously it is intended to stop the purchase of these vehicles and thus save fuel and the dollar content in it. Such arguments cannot be used about battery electric vehicles, because they do not use fuel. The argument for diverting the carriage of goods from the road to the rail by limiting commercial vehicles on the road and putting Purchase Tax on them cannot be used in the case of these electric vehicles, because their radius of operation is very limited, and they are supplementary and complementary to railway transport, and do not take away any traffic from the railways.

Another reason for putting the tax on commercial vehicles was to divert more such vehicles to the export trade by keeping them off the home market. Such an argument does not apply to electric vehicles, because there is no export trade in this type of vehicle, nor is there any demand abroad for them. There is a positive advantage in giving encouragement to the production and operation of battery electric vehicles because the British Electricity Authority wants to even out its load. When these electrical vehicles have their batteries charged, it is done at night-time when the peak load is at its lowest, and therefore it is a positive advantage that these vehicles should be encouraged to be used in the transportation of goods. At the same time it will be an advantage to the British Electricity Authority in helping them to even out the load at night-time. For these various reasons, I hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will favourably consider this Amendment.

4.15 a.m.

Mr. Jay

This is the most important point raised by this series of Amendments. We considered very carefully, in consultation with the trade, the position of these electrical vehicles, that consultation and consideration having taken place in the interval between the Budget and the introduction of the Finance Bill. Indeed, it was that consideration, amongst others, which led us to decide to transfer the tax to the chassis, which is a considerable relief for electrical vehicles, but we do not think that a case has been made for exempting the vehicles altogether.

The hon. Member for St. Marylebone (Sir W. Wakefield) said that there were no exports of electrical types of vehicles. I have made careful inquiries about that, and from information given to me it would seem that the fact is that there are small exports. There are definitely some, and it may be that those exports, with sufficient effort, could be increased.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Is there any evidence at all that they could be increased?

Mr. Jay

It is a matter of opinion. They have been increased, and some people think they could be further increased.

However, the deciding factor is that electrical vehicles are obviously in competition with the ordinary petrol goods vehicle, and it would not be in accordance with the principles of Purchase Tax to exempt them. It would not be practical to put this heavy tax on one type of vehicle and exempt altogether another type of vehicle which is in direct competition with it. I expect the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders would take the same view.

I would remind the hon. Member of the concession we have made by transferring the tax to the chassis, which has gone a long way to meet the arguments put forward by the manufacturers of these vehicles. In the first place, the battery is now exempt, and I understand that is a considerable part of the cost. The pedestrian controlled vehicles, which we have added to the exempt list, are almost entirely electrical vehicles. We have gone part of the way to meet the argument, but I am afraid we cannot exempt these vehicles entirely.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, at twenty past four in the morning, expounds a new taxation policy. He said that because His Majesty's Government, which for reasons which to them seem adequate, are going to impose a Purchase Tax on petrol-driven vehicles, therefore it follows that they should also impose it on electrically-driven vehicles, even though the factors which have influenced the Government to tax the one do not apply to the other. That shows the difficulties in which the Government have got themselves on this whole matter. They are now driven to tax vehicles for which—and the Financial Secretary's speech is the best evidence—there is no case at all just because some other class of vehicle has been taxed.

There is one thing which, I must confess, the Financial Secretary's speech has made clear to me. The lack of argument that he has been able to adduce on this point is a very clear explanation of why the Lord President of the Council has arranged for these Debates to be taken in the middle of the night, when, in accordance with his usual practice, the Lord President of the Council is comfortably tucked up in bed.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. Maudling

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Schedule, in line 59, at beginning, to insert "agricultural, horticultural."

It will be convenient, with permission, to couple with this Amendment the two subsequent Amendments. The effect of these three Amendments would be to exempt from the new tax all agricultural and horticultural vehicles designed primarily for use on farms. Already a large number of vehicles used on farms are exempt. Tractors are exempt, and in the course of the discussions in this Committee the Government have extended the exemption to vehicles of the "Land Rover" type. The reason for that extension was given by the Financial Secretary, as follows: The second additional exemption we propose is for the class of vehicle known as the "Land Rover" type. Those are light vehicles but are designed mainly not for use on the road; but on rought ground on farms, woodlands and so on. We think they can reasonably be distinguished from ordinary road vehicles for the purposes of this tax."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th June, 1950; Vol. 476, c. 583.] The purpose of the Amendments is to extend that principle to all other vehicles designed primarily for use on farms which cannot be described as ordinary road vehicles. The Government's Amendment was drawn very narrowly and leaves out a number of similar vehicles. I quote one example which has arisen in my constituency —a vehicle manufactured there which goes by the name of Motocart. I have received a number of pamphlets on this vehicle and have sent them to the hon. Gentleman for his information.

It is a small three-wheeled truck with a maximum speed of 12 m.p.h. and is driven by a large single wheel in front. It is designed entirely for use on farms, for doing such jobs as carting, muck spreading and circulating fertilisers. It is designed to take the place of the cart and to do jobs for which a light tractor is often used, and do them more economically. Certainly some of these are used for industrial purposes, but I am informed that 95 per cent. of them are used on farms for farming purposes, and I think this is the sort of vehicle that comes within the principle enunciated by the Financial Secretary.

This is only one example of many similar vehicles that must be manufactured in the country for use on farms. Therefore, the Amendment has the purpose of extending the principle underlying the "Land Rover" exemption to all similar vehicles.

Mr. Jay

It did not appear to us that this Amendment was necessary, because our intention had been that all vehicles used mainly on farms should be exempt. As the hon. Gentleman said, all agricultural machinery proper is exempt in that it does not come under the heading of road vehicles. We have also exempted tractors and locomotives in paragraph (2, d) of the Schedule, and we have included the "Land Rover." It therefore appears that the only vehicles used on farms which are taxable are general road lorries and vans which are normal road vehicles. I think the Committee will agree that these should be taxed. If it turns out, as the hon. Member suggests, that other vehicles not covered come within the definition are vehicles which are mainly and normally used on farms, I am prepared to consider including them. We have, of course, taken power to vary the exemptions by Treasury order, and it would be possible to do this.

Mr. Thorneycroft

Would it not be very much better simply to say so in the Bill? Why should agricultural vehicles be excluded when trucks used for other purposes are included? In paragraph (e) there are excluded "industrial and works trucks designed primarily for use in factories, docks, yards, railway stations or warehouses." The hon. Gentleman said fairly—and I fully accept it—that his intention is to exclude trucks primarily designed for uses such as the vehicles which my hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) mentioned. If that is so, surely the right and proper thing is to put it into an Act of Parliament, but if there is some reason for not doing so, I hope the Financial Secretary will tell us.

Mr. Maudling

The Financial Secretary said that if evidence could be produced that there were vehicles designed primarily for use on farms not covered by this Schedule, the Government would look at it. I think I have produced evidence that there are vehicles which are not covered, and if he will give an assurance that the Government will have a look at the matter before the Report stage, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Mr. Jay

Certainly we will look at the evidence before the Report stage but I cannot undertake to take any specific action. We will let the House know later whether we propose to take any action.

Mr. Maudling

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset, South)

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Schedule, in line 64, at the end, to insert: (i) vans and delivery vehicles of not more than twenty hundredweights unladen weight. Perhaps it would be for the convenience of the Committee for the three following Amendments to be considered at the same time: To insert at the end of line 64: (i) vehicles specially constructed for the carriage of abnormal indivisible loads (within the meaning of the Transport Act, 1947). (i) vehicles specially constructed for the carriage of bulk liquids. (i) vehicles specially constructed for the carriage of felled timber. As the Committee knows, and has been told repeatedly by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite, the inspiration of this tax is the desire to compress cer- tain goods vehicles in this country and to clear the roads of them and force them overseas to be sold. With that knowledge in mind, my hon. Friends and I have had a look at the list of exemptions in paragraph (3) of the Schedule to see how comprehensive it is. There are certain items there clearly which fall into the general picture of what the Chancellor of the Exchequer desires. For example, travelling lavatories and wash places are not attractive to export. Caravans, too, I suppose, come into that category. At any rate, the Government's housing programme is so bad that for the moment caravans have to be excluded.

4.30 a.m.

We wondered whether the list was as comprehensive as it could be, and have decided it is not by any means. One of the most important types of goods vehicles vital to the essential services of the country not readily available is the one I am moving to exclude—the 20 cwt. van. These are not vehicles one sees in France, Italy or Germany coming from British factories. They are not vehicles which compete easily with American vehicles of the same type in the Colonial Empire and the Dominions. They are vehicles essentially constructed for British roads, very easily driven, easily turned, economical on petrol, and connected with a vital industry, namely the distribution of goods and services, We think it strange that the Government should not wish to exclude them from purchase tax.

We consider it may be part of the general policy of the Government to render the distribution services of the country rather more expensive by charging Purchase Tax on these vehicles, thus softening up the distributing industry of the country and making it ripe for the nationalisation proposals of the Labour Party. The intention of the Opposition is to aid the small traders of the country, to do whatever is possible to cheapen their costs, and to see that goods and services are distributed to the people at the lowest possible price. Therefore, we have selected this essential vehicle and make a very strong request, which will be backed if necessary by a Division in due course, that this most important of all vehicles in the distribution services of this country shall be kept free of Purchase Tax.

Sir A. Hudson

As we are dealing with these Amendments together, Sir Charles, may I ask whether we can discuss the Amendment dealing with vehicles specially constructed for the carrying of bulk liquids?

The Deputy-Chairman

If the Amendment dealing with the carriage of bulk liquids is successfully resisted I shall call the other Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Erroll).

Sir A. Hudson

My Amendment deals with vehicles constructed for that purpose. I was under the impression that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale was covered by it.

The Deputy-Chairman

I do not think it is. That is why, if this Amendment is turned down, I shall call the one by the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale.

Sir A. Hudson

What I want to say about vehicles specially constructed for the carriage of bulk liquids is that the object of Purchase Tax on commercial vehicles is to prevent an excessive volume of home sales, and to promote sales abroad. No one is going to suggest that an undue number of these highly specialised vehicles is being bought at present, or has been bought at any time. They are only bought by such people as oil firms and firms engaged in the bulk carriage of milk. I would remind the Committee that they are excluded traffic under the Transport Act of 1947. These vehicles are mostly used for milk. They are also used for the carriage of petrol. Therefore, if we are going to put Purchase Tax on them it will be, in the case of milk, an additional tax on food and, in the case of petrol, an additional tax on transport for no particular advantage.

There is only one more point which I wish to make. It is that it should be noted that in regard to these tank vehicles a number of private companies own railway tank wagons, upon which there is no Purchase Tax. It seems rather absurd that for the same type of vehicles, those running on the railway carry no Purchase Tax while those which run on the roads bear Purchase Tax. There is one other small thing which comes in later on the Amendment of my hon. Friend. I am told that more and more of these tank vehicles are being made on the chassis-less principle and, therefore, more and more will the Commissioners mentioned in the Schedule have difficulty in discovering how much such vehicles will be subject to Petrol Duty.

Mr. Reader Harris (Heston and Isleworth)

I want to put in a special word for the exclusion from tax of those vehicles specially designed and built for the carriage of felled timber. First, their use is extremely limited. A vehicle for carrying these long trees cannot be used for anything else; they do not consist of anything much except a chassis. Secondly, they have no export value, or very little; thirdly, they do not compete with the Road Haulage Executive traffic under the provisions of the Transport Act; and, fourthly, this type of traffic is not carried by the railways. At least, felled timber is sometimes carried by the railways, but usually by road on these specially built vehicles.

Mr. Renton

I wish to refer to the traffics known as abnormal indivisible loads—[AN HON. MEMBER: "Like the Government."] I agree with part of that, but we have yet to see if they are indivisible. These traffics are excluded traffics in that, under the provisions of the Transport Act, they cannot be nationalised and for the very simple reason that the loads carried are the very big bulk loads which will not go through the railway tunnels and have to be put on these enormous vehicles. Hon. Members will have seen them carrying, perhaps, a ship's propellor, or a huge boiler, and so on, and there are very few of these specially constructed vehicles in this country for the carriage of these loads.

I have never heard that there is very much of an export trade for these vehicles. They are very costly indeed, and that is one reason why there are so few of them. If a one-third Purchase Tax is added to their cost, then vehicles which at present cost £5,000 to £12,000 will go up to £7,000 to £18,000, and the very valuable traffics—which are valuable to the export trade—will rise in price as well.

There is a further point; these unusual vehicles do a very great service for the shipping industry, especially in emergency. They enable a quick turn round of ships, and are, therefore, extremely valuable to the export drive. This is a strong case from the point of view of the Government's own intentions, and the Government have nothing to fear about the rapid extension of the capital investment programme if this request is granted.

I support the plea of my hon. Friend for the small shopkeepers' vehicles, not only because I have the honour to be his Member of Parliament but also because in the constituency which he and I know so well, the traders have complained to me—and I have here a letter from the Huntingdon Chamber of Trade—of the very great difficulty that they have experienced in the last three years in getting delivery of the small vans, especially the very small eight-cwt. vans. I have had forwarded to me a copy of a letter from Commer Cars Ltd., well-known manufacturers of these vans. It states We must explain that our eight-cwt. van is extremely popular overseas and that the number of vehicles of this type which have been available for the home market since the end of the war is extremely small. In fact, we recently completed a period of over 10 months in which no eight-cwt. vans were allocated to the home market. The point is that no Purchase Tax is necessary to secure a supply of vans to the overseas market. No Purchase Tax is necessary to deprive the home market of vans, because the home market is already deprived of vans. The only effect of the tax will be to increase the price of those very few vans which do reach the home market.

Mr. Pargiter (Southall)

I am rather interested in some of the arguments developed. They would appear to be something of a war of attrition to see just how little would be left in Purchase Tax anyhow. The vehicle referred to for carrying bulk liquids is very largely nowadays a chassis-less type than a tractor type of vehicle and very easily discernible for tax purposes. The other is a normal type of chassis-construction which has a tank on it. That is the only alternative type to the chassis-less type. I am at a loss to understand some of these references. I thought hon. Members, in supporting this Amendment, would give a much clearer description of these extraordinary types of vehicles. One type, with which I might have some sympathy, is the very heavy one, of which there are very few and which is designed for indivisible bulk loads. There are not so many of these, and I doubt very much if they would have very much effect on the export market or the home market or even generally upon the amount of capital invested.

The 20-cwt. unloaded vans seem to have been a little confused because another hon. Member referred to the eight-cwt. vans. This vehicle has a very ordinary type of chassis used for either the production of light cars or for van purposes. There is no doubt that the Chancellor is quite entitled to see that as many of that type of chassis are diverted overseas as he possibly can. I see no case at all for the Amendment. Out of all this, in the absence of a much clearer description of what these very special vehicles are, apart from the one which is easily discernible for carrying very heavy loads, I can see no useful purpose in accepting this proposal, if we accept the principle that these vehicles are to be subject to tax.

Sir T. Moore

I cannot believe the Government realise the full implication of this question. The Government party claim to be a party of culture, and yet in this Clause they are doing their very best to stifle one of the main methods by which culture can be achieved. I refer, of course, to books. Vans of this character are essentially the type of vans which are used to deliver, distribute, and collect books. There are many hon. Members on the opposite side of the Committee, as well as on this side, who have contributed very largely to our literature. Surely they should understand what they are doing, and that is to threaten their future livelihood should they agree to this Amendment being refused.

4.45 a.m.

The Chancellor himself is a man of letters. I frequently listen to some of his speeches at functions far removed from this unhappy assembly at this hour of the morning. I have rejoiced in them and have been encouraged and exalted by some of the more charitable statements of his. For these special reasons and for the benefit of the reading public as a whole—and the reading community, I am glad to say, is growing, though they do not pay enough for their books—I think the Chancellor would really have sound justification for accepting this Amendment in the name of the cultured public, the public as a whole and those of his own party who are still endeavouring to be hopeful authors.

Mr. Jay

I am sorry the hon. and gallant Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore) is feeling so unhappy, but I shall be happy to try to meet his argument. As all sorts and different aspects of vehicles have been suggested for exemption in this Amendment I will deal with them one by one.

First, let me refer to the light vans mentioned by the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke). I think there is less a case for exempting this particular class than for most of the rest which one could select, from this list. It is, in fact, the light type of van which has most increased in the last few years and has contributed the largest part to the excess investment over the target which was one of the reasons for introducing this tax. Whether hon. Members agree with the general policy or not—and that is something which we cannot discuss now—I do not think it could possibly be defensible that they accept the rest of the taxes and select this particular class of vehicle for exemption.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Has the hon. Gentleman any idea what the Purchase Tax yields on this particular type of vehicle?

Mr. Jay

The exemption of this class would give us something like £3 million or £3,500,000; that shows it is a very numerous class of vehicle. They are a cheaper type of vehicle and, therefore, the proportional burden of tax per vehicle is also the lightest in this case.

Secondly, the vehicles specially constructed for the carriage of abnormal indivisible loads were mentioned, and it is true, as the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton) said, that those vehicles are few; but they are, I understand, in the great majority of cases, multi-wheeled trailer vehicles and a large part of the vehicle in terms of value is, in fact, accounted for by the trailer. Under the present scheme of tax all trailers, whether of the articular or semi-trailer type are now exempt and, therefore, tax has in fact already been relieved to a very considerable extent on those multi-wheeled trailer vehicles. The only section which still remains subject to tax is the chassis of the motive unit, and since that is a general-purpose road haulage vehicle, there is, I think, no good case for exempting that part of the motive unit.

Thirdly, it was argued that we should exempt vehicles constructed for the carriage of bulk liquids. It was the special case of those vehicles which was one of the main reasons on account of which we decided to make the change from the vehicle to the chassis. In the case of these vehicles carrying petrol, milk and so forth, a high proportion of the cost of the total vehicle is accounted for by the superstructure, so that the tax as originally introduced would, I think, have borne rather hardly on these vehicles. For that very reason, following the transference of the tax, the main part of the vehicle is exempt. We have, therefore, gone so far to meet the case of the liquid carrying vehicles that there is really no case for the complete exemption.

Finally, the case of the timber carrying vehicle was raised. In almost all cases they are trailer vehicles, and the trailer is now exempt. The only part of the vehicle now subject to tax is the chassis of the motive unit which is, like other motive units, a general purpose road haulage vehicle. As such, we think it should equally be subject to tax with the rest of the vehicles of that type. We cannot, therefore, ask the Committee to include any of these special types among the exemptions.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I think I was right earlier in our discussion to ask the Government to disclose one single consistent principle upon which they could say any vehicle was excluded from the tax or included within the mischief of the Schedule. As our discussions have gone on it has become perfectly obvious that the right hon. and learned Gentleman excludes and includes vehicles on a purely arbitrary basis. Originally it was said that this tax was a weapon to drive vehicles into the export market. Now we have heard the case put forward for the tax on vehicles concerned with the transport of indivisible loads. It was not even suggested in the argument that the tax was designed so that we should export all these vehicles. I am glad it was not, for they are absolutely vital to our export trade. They are concerned in moving valuable and very heavy loads to the ports.

Next, timber carrying vehicles. I thought dollar timber was a problem today. I thought the Government intended to do everything possible to encourage the use of home grown timber from our forests. It would be difficult to find anything sillier or less consistent with what the right hon. and learned Gentleman is always pretending he is trying to do.

The last point is perhaps the most important. [Interruption.] I am not going to be hurried. It is no choice of ours that matters of very great importance to millions of our fellow countrymen are being discussed at this hour of the morning. It is the Government who have decided that business should be taken at this hour and in this way. I very much recommend hon. Members opposite to obey the instructions which they are receiving, by signs, from the Chancellor in this matter. One of my hon. Friends says the Chancellor should put a tax on them.

The most important of this series is the shopkeepers' Amendment. It is an Amendment which is designed to prevent this tax of 33⅓ per cent. from falling upon the delivery vans of the shopkeepers of this country. They are already up against quite a lot of things. It is now proposed to tax them to the tune of another £3½ million, if I got the figure right.

It may be that not a large report will come out about our discussions at this moment, but we shall make certain that the Financial Secretary's proud intention to take another £3½ million out of the shopkeepers is given the maximum publicity. It does seem an extraordinary thing that a Government which is always talking about bringing down the cost of distribution should spend most of its time in this Budget in pushing the costs of distribution up. We shall divide on this Amendment to mark our disapproval of this policy.

Mr. James Hudson (Ealing, North)

I want to know from hon. Gentlemen opposite whether the subject of their Amendment has been fully covered by their references to milk. I heard hon Gentlemen saying a good deal about the failure of the Government to meet the situation, and I heard the anxiety of the hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. P. Thorneycroft) about the small shopkeepers. But the bulk liquid I have seen being carried about by these vehicles was neither petrol nor milk. I am wondering before we part with this Amendment whether hon. Gentlemen would like to say what they have mostly in their minds.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

We intended to include milk, petrol, Guinness, and, if necessary, Bristol cream.

Mr. N. Macpherson

One important point that has not been made yet is the effect on the efficiency of deliveries. So many people in my constituency, which is a rural one, are finding it difficult at the present time in getting delivery vans to replace the ones which are falling to pieces. If sufficient vans are not made available the efficiency of distribution is going to be badly

affected. The Financial Secretary said that the saving would be £3½ million. On what basis was that calculated? If it was calculated on the number of vans actually being delivered at present, surely the whole purpose of this manoeuvre is to keep down the number.

If the Chancellor hopes to reduce the number of vans then the saving is not £3½ million but something less. This is typical of the whole attitude of the Government in this problem. They do not really know whether it is for reasons of revenue or to cut down the number of vans. They do not know what the effect of reducing the number will be, but I can tell them that it is going to be a very serious thing indeed for the countryside.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 175; Noes, 199.

Division No. 46.] AYES [5.2 a.m.
Aitken, W. T. Foster, J. G. Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)
Alport, C. J. M. Fraser, Hon. H. C. P. (Stone) Maitland, Comdr. J. W.
Amory, D. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Galbraith, Cmdr. T. O. (Pollok) Marlowe, A. A. H.
Arbuthnot, John Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Marshall, D. (Bodmin)
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Gates, Maj. E. E. Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)
Astor, Hon. M. Gridley, Sir A. Maude, A. E. U. (Ealing, S.)
Baldock, J. M. Grimston, Hon. J. (St. Albans) Maudling, R.
Baldwin, A. E. Grimston, R. V. (Westbury) Mellor, Sir J.
Banks, Col. C. Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.) Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T.
Baxter, A. B. Harris, R. R. (Heston) Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H. Harvey, Air-Codre. A. V. (Macclesfield) Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)
Bell, R. M. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W W Nabarro, G.
Bennett, R. F. B. (Gosport) Higgs, J. M. C. Nicholls, H.
Birch, Nigel Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Nield, B. (Chester)
Bishop, F. P. Hill, Dr. C. (Luton) Nutting, Anthony
Black, C. W. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Oakshott, H. D.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Hirst, Geoffrey Odey, G. W.
Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan Hollis, M. C. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
Braine, B. Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich) Perkins, W. R. D.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G. Hopkinson, H. L. D'A. Peto, Brig. C. H. M
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. Hornsby-Smith, Miss P. Powell, J. Enoch
Brooke, H. (Hampstead) Howard, G. R. (St. Ives) Prescott, Stanley
Browne, J. N. (Govan) Howard, S. G. (Cambridgeshire) Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Profumo, J. D.
Bullock, Capt. M. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Raikes, H. V.
Burden, Squadron-Leader F. A. Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J. Redmayne, M.
Carr, L. R. (Mitcham) Hutchinson, Geoffrey (Ilford, N.) Renton, D. L. M.
Channon, H. Hyde, H. M. Robinson, J. Roland (Blackpool, S)
Clarke, Col. R. S. (East Grinstead) Hylton-Foster, H. B. Robson-Brown, W. (Esher)
Clarke, Brig. T. H. (Portsmouth, W.) Jones, A. (Hall Green) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Colegate, A. Kaberry, D. Roper, Sir H.
Cooper, A. E. (Ilford, S.) Langford-Holt, J. Russell, R. S.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow) Leather, E. H. C. Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.
Craddock, G. B. (Spelthorne) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Scott, Donald
Cranborne, Viscount Lindsay, Martin Smith, E. Martin (Grantham)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Llewellyn, D. Smithers, Peter H. B. (Winchester)
Crouch, R. F. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton) Smithers, Sir W. (Orpington)
Crowder, F. P. (Ruislip-Northwood) Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral) Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Darling, Sir W. Y. (Edinburgh, S.) Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Soames, Capt. C.
Davidson, Viscountess Longden, G. J. M. (Herts, S. W.) Spearman, A. C. M.
de Chair, S. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Deedes, W. F. Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Spens, Sir P. (Kensington, S.)
Digby, S. Wingfield Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O. Stanley, Capt. Hon. R. (N. Fylde)
Drayson, G. B. McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S. Stevens, G. P.
Drewe, C. Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight) Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond) Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Duthie, W. S. McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Summers, G. S.
Erroll, F. J. Maclay, Hon. J. S. Sutcliffe, H.
Fisher, Nigel MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.) Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.) Vaughan-Morgan, J K. Wheatley, Major M. J. (Poole)
Teeling, William Vosper, D. F. Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford) Wakefield, E. B. (Derbyshire, W.) Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, E.)
Thompson, R. H. M. (Croydon, W.) Wakefield, Sir W. W. (St. Marylebone) Wills, G.
Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth) Walker-Smith, D. C. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Thornton-Kemsley, C. N. Ward, Hon. G. R. (Worcester) Wood, Hon. R.
Tilney, John Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth) York, C.
Touche, G. C. Waterhouse, Capt, C. Young, Sir A. S. L.
Turton, R. H Watkinson, H. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Vane, W. M. F. Webbe, Sir H. (London) Mr. Studholme and Major Conant.
Acland, Sir Richard Griffiths, W. D. (Exchange) Pearson, A.
Adams, Richard Gunter, R. J. Peart, T. F
Albu, A. H. Hale, J. (Rochdale) Poole, Cecil
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Popplewell, E.
Awbery, S. S. Hall, J. (Gateshead, W.) Price, M. Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Ayles, W. H. Hall, Rt. Hn. W. Glenvil (Colne V'll'y) Proctor, W. T.
Bacon, Miss A. Hamilton, W. W. Pursey, Comdr. H.
Baird, J. Hannan, W. Rankin, J.
Bartley, P. Hardman, D. R. Rees, Mrs. D
Beswick, F. Hardy, E. A. Reeves, J.
Bing, G. H. C. Hargreaves, A Reid, T. (Swindon)
Blackburn, A. R. Harrison, J. Reid, W. (Camlachie)
Blenkinsop, A. Hastings, Dr. Somerville Richards, R.
Boardman, H Hayman, F. H. Robens, A.
Booth, A. Herbison, Miss M. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) Hewitson, Capt. M Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M Hobson, C. R. Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Brook, D. (Halifax) Holmes, H. E (Hemsworth) Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Brooks, T. J. (Normanton) Houghton, Douglas Royle, C.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, N) Shackleton, E. A. A.
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr) Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Burton, Miss E. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Hughes, Moelwyn (Islington, N.) Simmons, C. J.
Champion, A. J. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Slater, J.
Chetwynd, G. R Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Snow, J. W.
Clunie, J. Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Sorensen, R. W.
Coldrick, W. Janner, B. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir F.
Collick, P Jay, D. P. T Sparks, J. A.
Collindridge, F. Jenkins, R. H. Steele, T.
Cooper, G. (Middlesbrough, W.) Johnson, James (Rugby) Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Cooper, J. (Deptford) Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool) Stross, Dr. B.
Cove, W. G. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Sylvester, G. O.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Jones, William Elwyn (Conway) Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Cripps, Rt. Hon. Sir S Keenan, W Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Crosland, C. A. R. Kenyon, C Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Cullen, Mrs. A. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Daines, P. King, H. M. Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Darling, G. (Hillsboro') Kinley, J. Timmons, J
Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.) Lee, F. (Newton) Tomney, F.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Lindgren, G. S. Vernon, Maj W F
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Viant, S. P.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Longden, F. (Small Heath) Wallace, H. W.
Deer, G. MacColl, J. E. Watkins, T. E.
Delargy, H. J. Mackay, R W. G. (Reading, N.) Weitzman, D.
Dodds, N. N. McLeavy, F. Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Donnelly, D. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Driberg, T. E. N. Mainwaring, W. H While, Mrs. E. (E. Flint)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) While, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Edelman, M. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W
Edwards, John (Brighouse) Manuel, A. C. Wilcock, Group-Capt C A. B
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Mellish, R. J. Wilkes, L.
Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.) Messer, F. Wilkins, W. A.
Evans, E. (Lowestoft) Mitchison, G. R. Willey, F. T (Sunderland)
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Moeran, E. W. Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Ewart, R. Monslow, W. Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Fernyhough, E. Moody, A. S. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Field, Capt. W. J. Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Finch, H. J. Moyle, A. Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H (Huyton)
Freeman, J. (Watford) Mulley, F. W Winterbottom, I. (Nottingham, C.)
Freeman, Peter (Newport) Murray, J. D. Winterbottom, R. E. (Brightside)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N Nally, W. Wise, Major F. J.
Gibson, C. W. Neal, H. Woods, Rev. G S
Gordon, Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Orbach, M. Yates, V. F
Greenwood, A. W. J. (Rossendale) Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Dearne V'lly) Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Grey, C. F. Pannell, T. C. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Pargiter, G. A. Mr. Bowden and Mr. Kenneth
Paton, J. Robinson.

Question put, and agreed to.

Mr. Erroll

I beg to move, in line 64, at the end, to insert: (j) aircraft refuelling vehicles designed primarily for use only on aerodromes in connection with the refuelling of aircraft.

This Amendment excludes from tax aircraft refuelling units which are commonly known as Bowsers and are to be seen on the aerodromes. They are not road vehicles. In fact, many of them are so constructed that they could not be used on the roads on account of the present regulations for construction and use. Most of them are unlicensed and cannot travel on the roads. It would be appropriate to include them in the Third Schedule where we find: Industrial and works trucks designed primarily for use in factories, docks, yards, railway stations or warehouses. If after the word "yard" the word "airfield" were inserted it would enable these vehicles to be exempt.

Air-Commodore Harvey

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has given little, indeed, nothing at all, to the aircraft and aviation industries in this Bill, and I ask him now in our final winding up to be generous and exempt these vehicles. They could not be used outside an airfield because of their size. Furthermore, they are increasing in size and cost. If they are taxed, airfield owners and the Government will instal more ground installations, and it is far more convenient to have mobile fuelling on airfields. I do not know the cost of this concession, but I think it would be little. I would assure the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) that these vehicles do not carry beer on airfields, not under this Government at any rate. My final plea to the Chancellor of the Exchequer is to be generous and meet us in this modest request before we complete our proceedings.

Sir S. Cripps

I am glad the hon. Gentleman has moved this Amendment because it gives me an opportunity of saying what a very pleasant evening we have all had. I do not think I ever remember a more pleasant and even-tempered all-night sitting in the House, and I am sure we are all very grateful to the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite for their assistance in bringing about such a happy state of affairs. I suppose in another setting I would have proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman, seconded by the right hon. Gentle-man opposite. So far as this Amendment is concerned, I think I can satisfy both hon. Gentlemen in their desires by telling them that, according to their own definition of these vehicles, they are not road vehicles and therefore are not subject to tax under this Schedule.

Mr. Erroll

In the circumstances, after a very happy evening, I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Schedule, as amended, be added to the Bill."

Captain Waterhouse (Leicester, South-East)

In the definitions of the Schedule are the words, "mobile shops." I am informed that there are two forms of mobile shop; one is a large shop in which the shopper goes inside the shop to do his shopping. That vehicle is already exempt. And there is a much smaller shop, which belongs normally to the humbler sort of shopkeeper and at which the humbler sort of people do their shopping. That is a shop in which the display is outside. That shop is not exempt from tax. I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to look into this, to see if an alteration of words is necessary to clear away this anomaly.

Sir S. Cripps

I will certainly have a look at the matter the hon. Gentleman mentions. I could not deal with it now because I am not aware of it.

Schedule, as amended, added to the Bill.

Bill reported, with Amendments.

As amended, to be considered upon Monday next, and to be printed [Bill 38].

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