HL Deb 23 October 1968 vol 296 cc1499-500

[No. 57]

Clause 60, page 86, line 3, at end insert— () to the use of tractors and machines registered under the Vehicles (Excise) Act 1962, at the agricultural rate of duty and used within the conditions specified therein; Or () to the use of any mechanically propelled vehicle exempted from the duty chargeable under the Vehicles (Excise) Act 1962 in accordance with the provisions of section 6(6) of that Act; or

The Commons disagreed to this Amendment for the following Reason:

[No. 58]

Because it introduces exemptions which can already be given under the Bill in a more flexible manner.

3.40 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that the House doth not insist upon its Amendment No. 57 to which the Commons have disagreed. My noble friend Lord Beswick, in his intervention just now, did not do himself justice when he said that he had moved one ahead. If he had done so, I should not have this fairly long story to give your Lordships. But I would only briefly draw attention to what was said both in this House when we were debating our Amendment and in another place when they were considering our Amendment.

The Amendment would exempt from the system of operators'—that is, "quality"—licensing farm tractors and machinery used on and around the farm, and certain other goods vehicles not used for more than six miles a week on a public road. The Government have never been unsympathetic to the principle of this proposal. I gave an assurance to the Committee that representations for the exemption of these particular classes of vehicle would be fully considered when the time came to draft regulations under Clause 60(2)(b), as it was undesirable as a general principle to write exemptions substantively into the Bill because of the inflexibility and confusion which might result.

Nevertheless the Committee was not disposed to accept that assurance from me. It may be that to a certain extent it was justified in not doing so because in another place on October 17 the Minister of State gave an even more categorical assurance when he said that, subject to the usual consultations, the Minister proposed that the categories of vehicles mentioned in the Amendment should be included in exemption regulations under Clause 60(2)(b). This was sufficient to persuade the other place to disagree with the Amendment made in this House. I hope, therefore, that my repetition of this assurance here will be equally sufficient to persuade your Lordships in turn not to insist on the Amendment.

Moved, That this House doth not insist on its Amendment No. 57 to which the Commons have disagreed.—(Lord Hughes.)


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, for repeating the assurance of the Minister of State given in another place. This of course gives us substantially what we had hoped that the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, would have been able to give us last time. It would have sounded very well in his mellifluous tones if we could have had that assurance, but we are glad to have it now and for these reasons we shall not dissent.

On Question, Motion agreed to.