HC Deb 01 June 1961 vol 641 cc509-11

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Redhead

I am not quite sure that I appreciate the purpose of this Clause. I have tried to follow it by cross reference to Section 14 of the 1949 Act, but I should like to be assured that this is no more than an attempt to clarify the previous Act and does not involve any sinister or subtle change in practice; that it is merely designed to facilitate the county authorities in exercising their responsibilities under Section 14 of the previous Act.

Mr. Barber

I think I can assure the hon. Gentleman on this point. As he has obviously appreciated, this Clause amends Section 14 of the Vehicles (Excise) Act, 1949, by providing that the time limit for taking proceedings for the recovery of licence duty either overpaid or underpaid shall be 12 months beginning at the end of any period in respect of which the licence was taken out.

This arises from the change-over in the system of issuing licences. Until September 1960 licences were issued by the calendar year or by the calendar quarter. Now, as the hon. Gentleman knows, they can be issued for any period of 12 months—and, in certain cases, for 4 months—running from the beginning of the month in which the licence was first taken out. As a result, the provisions in Section 14 in the 1949 Act are somewhat inapposite and, in one case, ambiguous. We therefore thought it right to correct this. I should mention as a very relevant factor that the new rules will apply equally to the Revenue and the taxpayer in respect of both underpayment and overpayments. I therefore hope that the Committee will think that the Clause is reasonable.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 7 ordered to stand part of the Bill.