HC Deb 18 January 1979 vol 960 cc1941-2
12. Mr. Newton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to give further details of his proposals for phasing out vehicle excise duty.

Mr. Denzil Davies

We must await the outcome of consultations with the motor industry and other interested bodies. These are to begin shortly.

Mr. Newton

If the Minister of State decides to go ahead with this policy, can he at least give us a definite undertaking that funds will be made available to compensate the disabled who receive the mobility allowance and who are exempt from vehicle excise duty from the loss that they will sustain?

Mr. Davies

It is not for me to give that sort of undertaking, but I assure the hon. Gentleman that the points that he and others have made will be taken into account when we consider this very difficult problem.

Mr. Gwilym Roberts

Will my right hon. Friend accept that the phasing out of the duty and the corresponding increase in petrol prices will be an enormous problem not only to people in rural areas but to urban groupings, such as Cannock Chase, which are on the borders of major conurbations and where large proportions of the population travel considerable distances to work?

Mr. Davies

I accept that some groups will be worse off as a result of the change. But other groups will be better off. We are conscious of the problems of the disabled and we are examining them.

Mr. Burden

Does the Minister agree that we are worried not only about the abolition of the vehicle tax but about the alternative measures to ensure that cars are properly licensed and insured? Will the Minister undertake that before such measures are introduced full particulars will be published of the proposals to replace the present vehicle licence?

Mr. Davies

It will still be necessary to have a proper system for vehicle registration, for the purposes of enforcing the law and road safety. There is no question about that. We are concerned here about the taxation aspect of the matter.