Transport Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:45 pm on 9th November 2000.

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Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Conservative 7:45 pm, 9th November 2000

My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 27. I am enormously grateful to the Minister for drawing my Britdisc Report stage amendment to the attention of his right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He has of course seen the value of it and hopes that it will pacify the haulage industry somewhat. That is why he announced it yesterday; but that is all he did. There does not appear to be much detail available.

In Committee I moved a similar amendment, which applied only to vehicles carrying abnormal loads. In his reply at col. 553 on 26th July, the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, drew the Committee's attention to the eurovignette directive, which would limit the maximum cost of a vignette to 1,250 euros: about £800. Does he believe this will be enough to have the desired effect of making foreign hauliers pay their full track costs, and is that the objective of having the Britdisc? To be fair to the Minister, the proposed reduction in VED will be welcome and I am sure that the Minister will say that both have to be considered together. Will the Minister seek a relaxation of the vignette regime from our EU partners or will he adhere to the current EU maxima?

Some of the extra costs arising from increased foreign lorry flows fall disproportionately upon certain local authorities. Will any of the receipts from these charges go directly to them or will they all be kept by the Chancellor?

The brief Statement by the Chancellor yesterday in another place was stated to be an intention, but little in the way of a timescale was given. As we know, time travels very fast. The Britdisc has been our policy on these Benches since April 1999. When will the Britdisc be implemented? It would seem that there is no chance of getting the scheme off the ground before the next election. I hope we shall see it in the election manifesto of the party opposite. I beg to move.