Ulster Commercial Vehicles (Irish Republic Import Duty)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th April 1954.

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Photo of Mr Alan McKibbin Mr Alan McKibbin , Belfast East 12:00 am, 8th April 1954

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that owners of commercial vehicles in the Irish Republic can bring such vehicles across the border into Ulster on payment of an annual fee of 2s. 6d., whereas owners in Ulster have to pay an import duty of one-third the value of the vehicle even if only one journey is made; and whether he will take action to remove this anomaly either by raising the import duty or by making representations to the Government of the Irish Republic, with a view to achieving reciprocity.

Photo of Mr Lawrence Orr Mr Lawrence Orr , South Down

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make representations to the Irish Republican Government, with a view to achieving reciprocal treatment for commercial vehicles crossing the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

I am aware of this anomaly and I regret very much that the authorities in the Irish Republic, who know our views, have not so far corrected it.

Photo of Mr Alan McKibbin Mr Alan McKibbin , Belfast East

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the duty on Ulster vehicles going into the Republic may amount to £1,000 or even more and that it is not recoverable? Is he aware also that the Board of Trade has been pressing the Dublin authorities, by correspondence, to give equitable treatment to Ulster for many years? Does he not consider that it is about time that he addressed them in the only way they can understand, and that is by the imposition of a quid pro quo on their vehicles coming north? Or are we to allow this injustice to be perpetrated in perpetuity?

Photo of Mr Peter Thorneycroft Mr Peter Thorneycroft , Monmouth

I have some sympathy with my hon. Friend. I understand that there are some difficulties about treating imports from Southern Ireland in the same way as it treats imports from Ulster, but I will communicate with the Northern Ireland Government to ascertain their views on this subject.

Photo of Mr Lawrence Orr Mr Lawrence Orr , South Down

While not wishing to do anything to disturb normal trading relations between the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he is aware that this is a glaring example of inequitable treatment, and whether he will consider pursuing the action proposed by my hon. Friend?