HC Deb 14 December 1939 vol 355 cc1313-5W
Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has considered representations made to him regarding the increased taxation on private motor-cars and the loss of revenue which will result therefrom; and if he has any statement to make in the matter?

Mr. Lipson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the heavy loss of trade suffered by motor traders as a result of the war, and of their apprehension that this loss will be greatly increased if the horse-power tax is raised to 25s. in January; and will he take steps to ensure that the tax should remain at the present amount of 15s.?

Mr. R. Gibson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the fact that he has had to revise his estimate of the revenue to be derived from the increased motor vehicle licences, he will reconsider the amount of this tax?

Captain Strickland

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has now considered the representations made by the recent deputation on behalf of the motor industry in favour of the reduction of the horse-power tax due to come into operation on the 1st January, 1940?

Sir J. Simon

I have given careful thought to the representations which have been made to the Treasury on this subject, and have been in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport upon it. A large number of considerations have to be given due weight, not only considerations of revenue but also considerations of economic policy.

While a reduction might lead certain motorists to licence cars which would otherwise be laid up, the Ministry of Transport and the Treasury are not satisfied that, in the conditions of to-day, the numbers who would do so are nearly sufficient to counter-balance the loss in revenue which would result from reducing the rate of tax for those motorists who will in any case continue to license their vehicles.

Motorists who can establish that, for professional or business reasons, it is essential for them to use their cars, can obtain extra rations of petrol. So far as other motorists are concerned who use their cars mainly for pleasure purposes, or at least for purposes which are not essential for national needs, it is not in the public interest to encourage unnecessary expenditure, particularly as the fuel has, in the main, to be imported from abroad and makes demands upon our foreign exchange. I regret therefore that I cannot adopt the suggestion of reducing the tax.

Captain Strickland

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will state, with respect to the estimate that the revenue from motor vehicle duties for the current financial year will fall, as an effect of the war, from the original Budget estimate of £43,450,000 to a revised estimate of £22,000,000, what are the original and revised estimates of the amounts of revenue to be derived from each of the four principal items of the duties, namely, motor cars taxed on horse-power, motor cycles, goods vehicles and hackney vehicles?

Sir J. Simon

In the circumstances in which the revised estimate was prepared it was clearly impossible to do more than formulate a general forecast of the probable effect of the war on motor taxation, and I do not think any advantage would be gained by giving a subclassification of the estimate.