Special Car Tax

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 10:30 pm on 11th July 1989.

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Photo of Dr John Marek Dr John Marek , Wrexham 10:30 pm, 11th July 1989

I listened with interest to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. King). The Opposition would welcome it if he put his name down for the Finance Bill Committee next year. We have discussions year in, year out on excise duties and other taxation on vehicles and not a Conservative Back Bencher who has any knowledge of the subject will stand up and take issue with us so that we can make the policies and duties better suited to Britain. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will take that request seriously.

The hon. Gentleman is wrong when he says that the Government mean business on environmental issues. If it had been left to the Government, we would not have had an agreement on catalytic converters or clean car engines. That was forced on the Government by the European Community, and we must get that point clear.

The Opposition are passionately pro-environment, and we sympathise with the basic aim of the new clause. We take issue, however, with the method chosen. As we must change our exhaust systems and introduce catalytic converters in a few years' time, what is the point of having an incentive? I do not understand the rationale behind the speeches of the hon. Members for Northfield and for Bromsgrove (Sir H. Miller). The incentive is unnecessary.

The difficulty is—I am sure that the Economic Secretary will say the same—that if an allowance is made for catalytic converters, the Treasury will be inundated with pleas for allowances for all sorts of additions to cars. Many kinds of transport systems will be fair game for different people with different interests.