HC Deb 17 April 1961 vol 638 cc817-8

Next, I have decided to turn to vehicle Excise duties, where the revenue has been very buoyant recently and where the rates have not been raised for some years.

I am now proposing an increase of 20 per cent., which will increase the licence on a private car to £15 a year. I think that it is right to apply similar increases to other types of vehicle, excluding only those like ambulances and invalid carriages which are at present exempt, and buses and coaches for which special relief was given in 1959. The rates of licence duty on commercial vehicles of all sorts have remained substantially unchanged since 1933, and I am satisfied that a modest increase can be made without seriously harming any class of road user.

It is not possible to increase each of the many different rates of duty by exactly 20 per cent., since there has, for convenience, to be a certain amount of rounding up or down. The new scales, as they will affect nearly all vehicles, are set out in full in the Financial Statement, and broadly represent an increase of 20 per cent. overall. In no case does the increase exceed 25 per cent. and in very few cases, apart from buses which I have already mentioned, is it less than 18 per cent. To give a few examples, motor cycles not over 150 c.c. will go up from 17s. 6d. to £1, taxis and the lightest goods vehicles from £10 to £12, farm tractors from £2 to £2 10s., and so on.

Owing to the recently introduced system of continuous issue of licences, the changes which I have described will take effect from tomorrow. I estimate the additional yield at £25 million during the current financial year. At the same time, I am making a small change in the law relating to the carriage of certain appliances on farm tractors, in the interests of safety. I add by way of postscript that these increases will enable me to face with greater equanimity the steadily increasing burden of expenditure upon the roads.