HC Deb 26 October 1971 vol 823 cc1468-9
26. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will give, for the longest and most convenient stated period of time, the actual or estimated number of road vehicles, both cars and lorries, which were being used without a current road fund licence, and the amount of revenue lost to the Treasury by this form of tax evasion.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

The statistics available, which relate to enforcement, do not enable any estimate to be made of the extent of unlicensed use and the consequent loss to the revenue.

Mr. Lewis

Will the Minister do something about getting an estimate? Is he aware that a Commander of Police in Scotland Yard has told me that the police have an estimate of about £5 million a year being lost to the Treasury by this persistent and deliberate evasion of taxation? Without cutting taxes at a stroke, he can have £5 million to play with, to put into other services, increased pensions and so on. Will he see that the law is carried out?

Mr. Jenkin

As I told the hon. Member in a long letter at the end of August, it is very difficult to get statistics on evasion. We have statistics, of course, on enforcement. When, eventually, the vehicle excise duty is centralised, as it is intended to be, it will then be possible to follow up cases where duty has not been paid.