HC Deb 07 November 1979 vol 973 c378
1. Mr. Rost

asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a statement on the proposal to abolish the motor vehicle licence.

The Minister of Transport (Mr. Norman Fowler)

I have already made clear that various proposals concerning the future of vehicle excise duty are under examination. The Government will announce their decision in due course.

Mr. Rost

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that a switch in tax direct to petrol would gain the Revenue about £60 million a year from those at present evading the tax? Will he remind the House of the administrative savings that would result? Does he accept the argument in support of energy conservation that would come from the fresh incentive not only to the motor manufacturers to produce more economical cars but to the consumers who might buy them?

Mr. Fowler

Administrative savings and energy conservation have been very much in mind in the review. However, the energy considerations have decreased slightly in importance because of the increase in petrol prices since the previous Labour Government's proposals were published.

Mr. Anderson

Is the Minister prepared to give any weight to the consequent loss of 800 job opportunities in an area of high unemployment? The employment structure of that area already has been threatened seriously by the Government's policy on steel and the withdrawal of regional development grants.

Mr. Fowler

As the hon. Gentleman knows, I have had talks with members of the department in Swansea. I am sure that it is the wish of both sides of the House that administrative savings should be made in that area.