HC Deb 14 April 1965 vol 710 cc1385-6
14. Mr. Clark Hutchison

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will give an up to date estimate of the extra cost to industry and agriculture in Scotland of the additional petrol tax imposed last autumn.

Mr. Willis

The estimated cost to agriculture and horticulture in Scotland is about £300,000 in a full year. My right hon. Friend has no means of estimating the cost to industry in Scotland of this additional tax.

Mr. Hutchison

Will the hon. Gentleman explain how this tax and the recent increase in goods vehicles registrations will help industry in Scotland? Why does he not fight for Scotland and do a good deal better, and if he cannot, why does he not resign?

Mr. Willis

These taxes are in the interests of the economy as a whole—they were necessitated by what had taken place before the Labour Government came into office—and Scotland benefits from the country's economy being healthy.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

If the hon. Gentleman is really interested in furthering Scotland's economy, would he not agree that he and his right hon. Friends would have been better employed imposing a larger slice of taxation on motor vehicles generally so that it covered the whole of the United Kingdom instead of applying it very largely to commercial vehicles, which represents a particular disadvantage in relation to the development of industry in Scotland?

Mr. Russell Johnston

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that such figures as he gave indicate that it would be desirable for him to look again at the possibility of applying the tax in a differential fashion throughout Scotland?

Mr. Willis

I understand that that is impracticable.