HC Deb 11 March 1952 vol 497 cc1295-6

I propose, at the same time, to meet a claim of motorists which has been urged by hon. Members upon each of my predecessors since 1947; that is, I intend to abolish the anomalous assessment of licence duty on the older private cars on the basis of their horsepower rating. The only reason for this survival was the loss of revenue which it avoided. This was estimated at between £5 million and £6 million pounds, and the latest revised estimate is £7 million. I do not think anyone will suppose that I can or should afford such a loss. I therefore propose that there shall be a flat rate for all cars, and that this be increased from £10 to £12 10s. a year.

I do not think this increase on the rate originally fixed in the very different conditions of 1947 is excessive. I recognise that owners of the small number of cars of 7 horsepower or less registered before 1947 will face a somewhat larger increase; but they have been fortunate in enjoying for so long the benefit of their anomalous position. I have reflected, also, that they use less petrol. These charges, as is customary, will come into force on 1st January, 1953; they could not be brought into force earlier without gross inequities as between those who have already taken out licences for the whole of 1952 and others. I estimate that they will cost £850,000 in 1952 to 1953 and £1,300,000 in a full year.

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