HL Deb 22 April 1971 vol 317 cc904-6

8.24 p.m.

LORD MOWBRAY AND STOURTONrose to move, That the Draft Motor Vehicles (International Circulation) Amendment Order 1971, laid before the House on March 25, be approved. The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Order is made under the Motor Vehicles (International Circulation) Act 1952. The general purpose of Orders made under this Act is to modify existing enactments where such modifications are necessary to enable us to comply with international agreements to which we are a party. The present Order is an Amendment Order, the purpose of which I will explain as briefly as I can.

Article 5 of the Motor Vehicles (International Circulation) Order 1957, as amended, contains provisions which exempt motor vehicles brought here temporarily from abroad from payment of vehicle excise duty, subject to certain conditions. This exemption stems from our obligation under the Geneva Convention for the taxation of road vehicles in international traffic. The main conditions attached to the grant of exemption for vehicles from excise duty is that the vehicle is exempt from road customs duty. For this reason the exemption from vehicle excise duty afforded to visiting vehicles is expressed as being conditional on release being granted under the appropriate customs instrument.

In the case of private cars, in Article 5(21(i) of the present Order this Instrument is referred to as the Customs Duty (Personal Reliefs) No. 2 Order 1968. However, that Order has now been revoked and replaced by the Customs Duty (Personal Reliefs) Order 1970. The new Article 5, which is inserted in the 1957 Order by Article 4 of the present Order, therefore refers to the 1970 Order instead of to the 1968 Order.

My Lords, there is a practical effect here to which I should draw attention. Part 7 of the 1970 Order affords relief from customs duty to vehicles temporarily imported by servicemen of visiting Forces. Because of this exemption, such vehicles should become entitled to exemption from the vehicles excise duty for a maximum period of a year. This, as I. have explained, follows our commitment under the 1956 taxation convention which requires vehicle excise exemption to be given where there is exemption from customs duty. The second change made to the terms of Article 5 of the 1957 Order is that the new paragraph 3 conveys the formal exemption from vehicle excise duty to vehicles coming here temporarily from the Isle of Man. The customs Orders do not apply to such vehicles because movement to and from the Isle of Man is not regarded as importation or exportation. Isle of Man vehicles do not therefore benefit from the general exemption based on customs exemption. It has been the practice for many years to exempt these vehicles from vehicle excise duty when they come here temporarily. This exemption is now being put on a formal basis.

The only other change of substance is that the fees for the issue of international driving permits and international certificates for motor vehicles to British motorists going abroad is raised from 53p (or, as my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor would say, "10s. 6d." because he prefers that) to £1. These fees have previously remained unchanged for many years—in fact since 1930, in the case of the driving permit. The motoring organisations who issue these documents on behalf of my right honourable friend have pointed out the considerable increase in costs in handling, storing and issuing these documents, and this modest increase in fees seems entirely justified.

The other changes made by this Order are purely textual ones, such as the dropping of references to international documents no longer in use and the replacement of references to the Vehicle Excise Act of 1962 by references to the 1971 Act which was, as the House will know, a consolidation measure. This, my Lords, is a useful, if modest, measure which can be regarded as a modernisation exercise, and I commend the Order to the House.

Moved, That the Draft Motor Vehicles (International Circulation) (Amendment) Order 1971 be approved.—(Lord Mowbray and Stourton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.