HC Deb 28 January 1969 vol 776 cc1101-2
Q2. Mr. Marten

asked the Prime Minister what communication he has received from the Disabled Drivers' Association concerning petrol tax; and what reply he has sent.

The Prime Minister

The general secretary of the Association wrote to me on 20th December, and a reply was sent from my office on 23rd January.

Mr. Marten

It is much better that we do not involve disabled drivers in party politics, and I know the Prime Minister's own interest in this matter, but will he have a word with the Chancellor of the Exchequer before the Budget to see whether the £5 allowance relating to duty on petrol could be increased in the light of the recent increases in the petrol duty, especially since the disabled are, in the main, immobile and usually in the lower income groups?

The Prime Minister

I agree that this should not be treated as a matter of party politics. However, the hon. Gentleman will know that, while there is, naturally, strong feeling on the matter—I am well aware of it—the cost of what he proposes would be considerable in terms of Government expenditure, and it is the general desire of the House that Government expenditure should be kept to a minimum. At the same time, I know that he will be delighted to learn, despite what I have just said, that expenditure on cars and other vehicles for disabled drivers has increased from just over £2¼ million five years ago to nearly £5 million this year.

Mr. Molloy

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that in all forms of taxation there are exceptional cases calling for exceptional legislation, and is not the case of the disabled driver worthy of special attention?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir; it ought to be continuously looked at and considered. I know that, although I have referred to the effect on Government expenditure, my hon. Friend also will be glad that, in our priorities for Government expenditure, we have more than doubled the provision for cars and other vehicles for disabled drivers.