HC Deb 10 February 1953 vol 511 cc365-73
Mr. H. Morrison

I beg to move in page 46, line 45, to leave out "exceeds one ton." and to insert "is more than two tons."

It is now 20 minutes past 10 and the Guillotine falls at half past, and we are to discuss this Amendment. The Minister on the last Amendment thought that the provision which he said he intends to obtain in another place had already gone out of the Bill, whereas it was staring him in the face in the Bill, which just shows into what a muddle this preposterous Guillotine is getting us. Now we are going to discuss the levy in nine minutes. Our proposal is that the application of the levy should be extended from vehicles up to one ton to vehicles up to two tons. [Interruption.] I do not know why the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) is sitting over there with a threatening look at me. Does he think that we have to be ordered by him as to when we should put something down on the Order Paper? I am surprised at him.

This Bill provides that there is an exemption for vehicles of not more than one ton unladen weight. That will only exclude from the levy very very light vehicles and, whilst there is a fair number of them, nevertheless that number is bound to be limited. It appears to us from the discussions we have had that there was and remains a case for the exclusion of vehicles engaged in the retail distribution of goods. [Interruption.] If the Parliamentary Private Secretary would let us get on with things it would be much better, that is, if he is a Parliamentary Private Secretary.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

He is a very good one.

Mr. Morrison

Well, he should not talk so much. I will give him some private tips when I see him again.

It has been argued very earnestly that retail trade vehicles should be exempted from the levy, and a good many of those are of about the one ton limit. Indeed, the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South, whom I am glad to see in his place, has put down an Amendment that the limit should be one and a half tons. I do not know what the Minister's attitude was or is, but there was an indication on the Committee stage that he would make a concession on this matter. We have not heard anything definite since and I will leave the Minister as much time as possible to tell us whether he will give us a concession in another place, which is probably the only stage at which he can do it now.

Another argument has been put forward with regard to local authority vehicles. Retail vehicles really do not come into this business of damaging or not damaging the railways. They operate within a limited radius, and I do not see why they should pay any levy. I really do not see also why a sanitary authority—[Interruption.] There are sanitary authorities. I do not know whether hon. Members opposite know it. I do not see why sanitary authority vehicles used to collect refuse, most of which are vehicles of two tons and over, or other vehicles doing other work in connection with local authorities, should be brought within the application of this levy.

Why should the ratepayers be burdened merely because the Government want to play the game of private interests in road commercial transport? That is what the Minister is doing. He is imposing a burden on the ratepayers to compensate the British Transport Commission for any damage that he is inflicting upon them purely because of the Conservative Party's wish to help road commercial transport of a private character. That is what is comes to.

The whole basis of the levy and the existence of the levy is wrong. If the Government come along and proceed to do this damage they should make it up out of the Treasury in one way or another and not put this direct taxation on commercial road transport. It is a burden not only upon road transport but upon the retail trade, and it will be one of the cost factors in that trade, including the conveyance of food. It is an additional burden on the ratepayers and local government authorities.

Why should these people be brought in for the purpose of compensating the Commission because the Government are damaging them by doing a good turn to their friends with road transport interests, who supported them in the Election and probably contributed materially to the funds of the Conservative Party. They were not the only people; I dare say the brewers also contributed to the Tory Party funds. That is what we shall go on thinking until the Conservative Party has the honesty and the decency to publish their balance sheet.

We take the view that this exemption should extend to vehicles of two tons and we think that, incidentally, it will be of assistance to the various classes of users I have mentioned. The British Road Federation have put up some very sound arguments against the levy—and so did hon. Gentlemen opposite. They feel the same way now; but they have not the courage to defy the Whips or to bring pressure to bear upon the Government. They are mere Lobby fodder. Here we are—under this abominable—

Viscount Hinchingbrooke


Mr. Morrison

It is no good the noble Lord getting cross. Hon. Gentlemen opposite should keep quiet and let the debate go on. It is not our Guillotine; it is the Government's, voted for by hon. Gentlemen opposite. I submit that the proceedings, both in Committee and on the Report stage, have been a disgrace to Parliamentary procedure, and they should never have been conducted in this way.

I now invite the Minister to finish the Report stage as a gentleman, being forthcoming, handsome and generous, and I ask him to accept this moderate Amendment.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Despite the last observations of the right hon. Gentleman,

I feel it is necessary to answer once more the ungenerous and untrue jibe about money being contributed by road haulage interests. If I can make any comment about it, it is this, that if I were being paid for the columns of speech I have made in the last three months I should have a fortune now.

Anticipating that the right hon. Gentleman would have a brainwave last night and put down this Amendment, I have been very careful, throughout our discussions, not to say whether we proposed to raise the limit of exemption. Even now, after such an interesting speech as we have had, the House should consider some of the consequences that would flow if we listened to the right hon. Gentleman's proposals. Under the Bill as it is now drawn some 380,000 out of 965,000 vehicles will escape the levy altogether. If the exemption were raised to vehicles of two tons the figure would increase by 185,000, so that 565.000 would not pay the levy.

If the Amendment were accepted the levy charge would have to rise from 13s. 6d. to 16s. 6d., and I cannot believe that that would be welcomed, especially by those local authorities for whom the right hon. Gentleman claimed to speak. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman ought to be studied in more moderation. I am sorry not to have heard a speech which might have been still more to the point, that of my noble Friend—

It being Half-past Ten o'Clock, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to Orders, to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Question put. "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 244; Noes, 236.

Division No. 84] AYES [10.30 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Beach, Maj. Hicks Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Bullard, D. G.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston) Bullock, Capt. M.
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Bullus, Wing Commander E E.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J Birch, Nigel Burden, F F. A.
Arbuthnot, John Bishop, F. P. Butcher, Sir Herbert
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Black, C. W. Campbell, Sir David
Astor, Hon. J. J Boothby, R. J. G Carr, Robert
Baker, P. A. D. Bossom, A. C. Carson, Hon E.
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Cary, Sir Robert
Baldwin, A. E. Boyle, Sir Edward Channon, H.
Barber, Anthony Braine, B. R. Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)
Barlow, Sir John Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.) Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)
Baxter, A. B. Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Cole, Norman
Beamish, Maj. Tutton Browne, Jack (Govan) Colegate, W. A.
Conant, Maj. R J. E. Hurd, A. R. Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.) Pitman, I. J
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Hutchison, James (Scotstoun) Powell, J. Enoch
Cranborne, Viscount Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. St Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Hylton-Foster, H. B. H. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Crouch, R. F. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Profumo, J. D.
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Raikes, Sir Victor
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Rayner, Brig. R.
Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Jones. A. (Hall Green) Redmayne, M.
Davidson, Viscountess Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W. Renton, D. L. M.
Deedes, W. F. Kaberry, D. Roberts, Peter (Healey)
Digby, S. Wingfield Keeling, Sir Edward Robertson, Sir David
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Lambert, Hon. G. Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Lambton, Viscount Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Donner, P. W Lancaster, Col. C. G. Roper, Sir Harold
Doughty, C. J. A. Langford-Holt, J. A. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Law, Rt. Hon. R. K. Russell, R. S.
Drayson, G. B. Leather, E. H. C. Ryder, Capt. R. E D.
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H Sandys, Rt. Hon D.
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Legh, P. R. (Petersfield) Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas
Duthie, W. S. Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A T Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Roohdate)
Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M Linstead, H. N. Scott, R. Donald
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Llewellyn, D. T. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Erroll, F. J. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton) Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Fell, A. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Finlay, Graeme Low, A. R. W. Soames, Capt. C.
Fisher, Nigel Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Spearman, A. C. M.
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)
Fletcher-Cooke. C. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Fort, R. Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O. Stevens, G. P.
Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Macdonald, Sir Peter Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Fyfe, Rt. Hon Sir David Maxwell McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Storey, S.
Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Maclean, Fitzroy Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Gammans, L. D. Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.) Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Garner-Evans, E. H. MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Summers, G. S.
George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)
Godber, J. B. Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Teeling, W.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Gough, C. F. H. Markham, Major S. F. Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
Cower, H. R Marlowe, A. A. H. Thornton-Kemsley, Col. G. N.
Graham, Sir Fergus Marples, A. E. Tilney, John
Gridley, Sir Arnold Maude, Angus Touche, Sir Gordon
Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Medlicott, Brig. F, Turner, H F. L.
Hall, John (Wycombe) Mellor, Sir John Turton, R. H.
Harden, J. R. E. Molson, A. H. E. Tweedsmuir, Lady
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.) Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas Vane, W. M. F.
Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Morrison, John (Salisbury) Vosper, D. F.
Harvey, Air Cdr A. V. (Macclesfield) Mott-Radclyffe, C. E Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire W.)
Harvie-Watt, Sir George Nabarro, G. D. N. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Hay, John Nicholls, Harmar Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Heald, Sir Lionel Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Heath, Edward Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemonth, E.) Waterhouse, Capt Rt Hon. C
Higgs, J. M. C. Nield, Basil (Chester) Watkinson, H. A
Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton) Noble, Cmdr, A. H. P. Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Nutting, Anthony Wellwood, W.
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Odey, G. W. Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Hirst, Geoffrey O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Holland-Martin, C. J. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. O. Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Hollis, M. C. Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Holmes. Sir Stanley (Harwich) Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Wills, G.
Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry Osborne, C. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P Peaks, Rt. Hon. O Wood, Hon. R
Horobin, I. M. Perkins, W. R. D. York, G.
Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Howard, Greville (St. Ives) Peyton, J. W. W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Pickthorn, K. W. N. Mr. Drewe and Mr. Studholme
Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
Acland, Sir Richard Beswick, F. Callaghan, L. J.
Adams, Richard Bing, G. H. C. Carmichael, J.
Albu, A H. Blackburn, F. Chapman, W. D.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Blenkihsop, A. Chetwynd, G. R
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Blyton, W. R. Clunie, J.
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Boardman, H. Coldrick, W.
Awberry, S. S. BowJen, H. W. Collick, P H.
Bacon, Miss Alice Bowen, E. R. Corbet, Mrs. Freda
Baird. J. Bowles, F G Cove, W. G
Balfour, A. Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J. Brockway, A. F. Crosland, C. A. R.
Bartley, P. Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Crossman, R. H. S.
Bence, C. R. Broughton, Dr. A. D. O. Cullen, Mrs. A.
Benn, Wedgwood Burton, Miss F. E. Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.
Benson, G. Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Darling, George (Hillsborough)
Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Johnson, James (Rugby) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Jones. David (Hartlepool) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Deer, G. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Ross, William
Delargy, H. J. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Shackleton, E. A. A
Dodds, N. N. Keenan, W Short, E. W.
Donnelly, D. L. Kenyon, C. Shurmer, P. L. E.
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich) King, Dr H. M. Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Edelman, M. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Edwards, John (Brighouse) Lewis, Arthur Slater, J.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Lindgren, G. S. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Edwards, W. J (Stepney) MacColl, J. E. Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) McGhee, H. G. Sorensen, R. W
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) McGovern, J. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) McInnes, J. Sparks, J. A.
Ewart, R McLeavy, F. Steele, T.
Fernyhough, E. MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Fienburgh, W. McNeil, Rt. Hon. H Strachey, Rt Hon. J
Finch. H. J MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Strauss, Rt. Hon George (Vauxhall)
Fletcher, Eric (Islington. E.) Mainwaring, W H. Summerskill, Rt. Hon E.
Follick, M. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Swingler, S. T.
Foot, M. M. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Sylvester, G O
Forman. J. C. Mann, Mrs. Jean Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Manuel, A. C. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Freeman, John (Watford) Mayhew, C. P Taylor, Rt. Hon, Robert (Morpeth)
Freeman, Peter (Newport) Meltish, R. J. Thomas, David (Aberdare)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N Mitchison, G. R. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Gibson, C. W. Monslow, W. Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Glanville, James Moody, A. S. Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Morley, R. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Thorneyoroft, Harry (Clayton)
Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) Thurtle, Ernest
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Moyle, A. Tomney, F.
Griffiths David (Rother Valley) Malley, F. W. Turner-Samuels, M.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Nally, W. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Viant, S. P
Grimond, J. Oldfield, W. H. Weitzman, D.
Hale, Leslie Oliver, G. H. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Hall, Rt Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Orbach, M. Wells, William (Walsall)
Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.) Oswald, T West, D G.
Hamilton, W. W. Padloy, W. E Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John
Hannan, W. Paget, R. T. Wheeldon, W E.
Hardy, E. A. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) White, Mrs Eirene (E. Flint)
Hargreaves, A. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.) Palmer, A M. F Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Hastings, S. Pannell, Charles Wigg, George
Hayman, F. H. Pargiter, G. A. Wilcock, Group Cant C. A. B
Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.) Parker, J. Wilkins, W A
Herbison, Miss M. Paton, J. Williams, David (Neath)
Hobson, C. R. Pearson, A. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Holman, P. Plummer, Sir Leslie Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Holt. A. F. Porter, G. Williams, W. R (Droylsden)
Houghton, Douglas Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton) Williams, W T (Hammersmith. S.)
Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Price, Philips (Gloucestershlre, W.) Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Proctor, W. T Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Pryde, D. J Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Hynd, H (Accrington) Pursey, Cmdr. H. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Hynd, J B. (Attercliffe) Reeves, J. Wyatt, W L.
Irvine, A J. (Edge Hill) Reid, Thomas (Swindon) Yates, V F
Irving, W. J (Wood Green) Reid, William (Camlachie) Younger, Rt. Hon K
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Rhodes, H.
Janner, B Richards, R. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Jay, Rt. Hon. D P. T. Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Wallace.
Jeger. George (Goole)
Bill to be read the Third time Tomorrow, and to be printed. [Bill 41.]