Hydrocarbon Oils

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th June 1971.

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Photo of Mr Peter Trew Mr Peter Trew , Dartford 12:00 am, 15th June 1971

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the amount of the excise duty on hydrocarbon oils which is borne ultimately by the paper and board industry;

(2) what estimate he has made of the amount of the excise duty on hydrocarbon oils which is borne ultimately by the horticultural industry.

Photo of Mr Terence Higgins Mr Terence Higgins , Worthing

The total amount of duty paid in 1970 on hydrocarbon oil purchased by the paper and board industry was probably of the order of £3½ million. The duty on most fuel oil used by the horticultural industry is repaid; I regret that no information is available about the duty paid on road fuel by this industry.

Photo of Mr Peter Trew Mr Peter Trew , Dartford

I am grateful for that information. While I appreciate that both these industries enjoy the benefit of a generous rebate on heavy oils, will my hon. Friend have regard to their plight and the fact that their foreign competitors enjoy the benefit of lower fuel costs, and consider rebating in full the duty on these oils?

Photo of Mr Terence Higgins Mr Terence Higgins , Worthing

No, I cannot undertake to do that. There is a clear distinction between the two industries. The horticultural industry was regarded as an exceptional case when relief was first granted in 1971. Broader questions on relative fuel costs are a matter for my right hon. Friend.

Photo of Mr Peter Rost Mr Peter Rost , Derbyshire South East

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated cost in the current financial year to the road haulage industry of the excise duty on hydrocarbon oils.

Photo of Mr Maurice Macmillan Mr Maurice Macmillan , Farnham

The total amount of duty paid on hydrocarbon oil purchased by road hauliers who transport other people's goods will probably be of the order of £75 million in the current financial year.

Photo of Mr Peter Rost Mr Peter Rost , Derbyshire South East

Does my right hon. Friend not think that this would be an appropriate time to reduce this crippling burden of taxation on fuel oil and petrol? Would this not make a major contribution to controlling the cost of living and inflation which was stoked up by the previous Government?

Photo of Mr Maurice Macmillan Mr Maurice Macmillan , Farnham

My right hon. Friend in his Budget decided that the concessions on indirect taxation should be concentrated on S.E.T. I do not think he can contemplate making any changes at this stage by reducing the taxation on hydrocarbon oils.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

Does the Treasury accept that it is right to use fiscal means to encourage the use of those hydrocarbon oils which are non-polluting?

Photo of Mr Maurice Macmillan Mr Maurice Macmillan , Farnham

That is another question, and if the hon. Gentleman puts it down we will answer it.