HC Deb 06 June 1967 vol 747 cc875-6

Amendment made: No. 46, in page 15, line 46, leave out first 'the' and insert 'any'.—[Mr. Swingler.]

Question proposed, That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

I have two brief points to make. The Clause adds a penalty to the penalty which we discussed on the previous Clause. I think that, by and large, this is a sensible provision. Subsection (5) provides that Where, on a person's conviction… he is given an absolute discharge or put on probation the foregoing provisions of this section shall apply as if the conviction were deemed to be a conviction for all purposes. This appears to be a rather unique situation: a person has had an absolute discharge and yet the fine will still apply. I wonder whether there are precedents for this. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary would comment on that.

My second point arises from subsection (7). In Section 18 of the 1962 Act, there was a pretty strict duty to provide information in respect of trade licences. The Bill seems to extend this obligation to provide information throughout the whole sphere of Clause 11 and all the penalties involved. Would the Minister explain the reasons for this extension, which appears to be quite considerable?

Mr. Swingler

Subsection (5) is a provision to make it clear that a person who is convicted of unlicensed use of a vehicle will not escape an order for repayment of the back duty merely because the court decides, not to impose a fine for the offence, but to order probation or an absolute or conditional discharge. That is the only case in which it is operative. There is a precedent for this in Section 95(5) of the National Insurance Act, 1965.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cath-cart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) referred to the information required under subsection (7), which is an extension of the requirements of the Vehicles (Excise) Act, 1962, as to the giving of information in respect of offences under the Act. Section 18 of the 1962 Act requires an owner of a vehicle to give information about the identity of a driver of his vehicle. The new provisions are intended to bite on the owner of the vehicle or the person responsible for its licensing. Therefore, it will be very important for the enforcement authorities to be able to obtain information about the owner from any driver who may be detected in charge of an unlicensed vehicle.

The subsection places a duty to give information about the owner on such a driver and creates an offence for which the penalty is a fine not exceeding £20 for failing to give such information. When a person driving an unlicensed vehicle who is not the owner of the vehicle is discovered, if effective enforcement action is to be taken, the driver of the vehicle should be required to reveal to the police the identity of the owner of the vehicle.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.