§ 16. Mr. Jessel
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, assuming no change in the rate of tax, how much revenue he would expect to raise from road tax on cars in 1978–79.
§ Mr. Denzil Davies
The estimated yield from cars in 1978–79 at current rates of duty is £761 million.
§ Mr. Jessel
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is continuing public concern about widespread evasion of the £50 car tax, which not only loses public revenue but is very unfair to the majority of car owners who pay the tax? What action is the Treasury taking to get cooperation from the Department of Transport and the police authorities to do something about it?
§ Mr. Davies
As the House knows, the Department of Transport has announced that a survey is going on to determine the level of evasion. When the results have been looked at and the estimates have been made, no doubt my right hon. Friend will make an announcement to the House.
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
In his original reply, did my hon. Friend include lorries and heavy vehicles, because the Question referred only to cars? Is he aware that one of the biggest groups of evaders is the "cowboys" who have heavy lorries and that the cost runs into hundreds of millions of pounds? This evasion has been growing for 15 years and the revenue has been losing hundreds of millions of pounds. Why is it that only now my hon. Friend is undertaking a survey?
§ Mr. Davies
My hon. Friend is quite right in one respect—that the Question referred only to cars. The total yield in 1979, including lorries and heavy vehicles, is estimated at £1,077 million. Of course there is evasion in respect of all types of vehicles, and the survey will look at that.