§ 21. Colonel Beamish
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the estimated revenue in 1957 from the tax on fuel oil; approximately how much of this amount was paid by omnibus operators; whether he is aware that the burden 962 of this tax has been a major factor in forcing the omnibus companies to cease to operate on many rural routes, and that as a result some country areas are suffering great inconvenience because of inadequate public transport services; and if he will give sympathetic consideration to this problem during the next few weeks.
The revenue in 1957 from heavy hydro-carbon oil used as road fuel was about £65 million, nearly half of it from oil used in buses and other public passenger service vehicles. I have received representations from and on behalf of omnibus companies on these matters, which I will bear in mind, together with other relevant factors, in my general review of taxation before the Budget.
§ Colonel Beamish
Is my right hon. Friend aware that, while many people felt that there was a strong case for the abolition of the fuel tax on omnibus companies last year, there seems to be an even stronger case this year? Is he aware that the tax is just over 200 per cent., and will he do his very best to find time, if an approach is made by the employers and the unions, to discuss this matter?