Clause 7. — (Unladen Weight of Vehicles: Special Bodies.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th June 1966.

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Dr. Bennett:

I welcome the Clause. It is a decent and proper provision which will be attractive to industry and will provide some measure of relief where it is well deserved.

I am not sure whether the Government are fully aware of the fact that the Clause may prove to be the last hope for certain types of commercial vehicles, which at present I do not suppose are contemplated as coming under it. These failed to get relief in a different direction a couple of years ago, and when my party was in power, by way of rebate on heavy fuel oil.

I am referring to mobile construction vehicles, in particular such things as the mobile concrete mixer, of which there are many on our roads. Relief or rebate has been sought for these vehicles, on the fuel used not for driving them but for mixing the concrete. This was turned down and the Treasury refused to give relief, having found reasons which satisfied the Ministers of the day. I have on the Notice Paper new Clause No. 4—"Rebate on fuel for mobile construction machinery". I hope that that will find favour with the Government. However, should the attempt fail to obtain rebate on the fuel not used for the transportation of these vehicles but, as I explained, used for the machinery which mixes the concrete, there will no doubt be a move to disarticulate the concrete element—to get the mixer away from the vehicle—so that the vehicle itself will pay the tax and will use non-rebatable fuel while the concrete mixing element will qualify for rebate and be untaxed under the Clause.

It will be appreciated that this is an inefficient method and will still encumber an industry which is trying to reduce its costs. This Clause provides one way at least by which these costs may be reduced and I know that the industry welcomes the provisions.