Clause 33 - Employer-subsidised public transport business services

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 16th May 2002.

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Photo of Mr Paul Boateng Mr Paul Boateng Financial Secretary, HM Treasury, The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 4:30 pm, 16th May 2002

It does feel like that, Mr. Gale, but there you are. It takes all sorts. The hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton may have come across the website in his surfing, and may have given us the benefit—at some length, no doubt—of his views.

What we found was that interested parties, having been given an opportunity to contribute, supported the measure. More than 50 individuals and organisations replied. The extended tax exemption is another modest, but important, step in our fight against congestion and traffic pollution. It will encourage employees to leave their cars at home. It will encourage employers to take advantage of the opportunity provided to make a real contribution not only to the environment, but the welfare of their employees and the immediate local community.

There is a point, which I think is sound and valid, that as we take such matters forward in a modest and incremental way, we should consider other forms of transport. I am perfectly willing to do so, having listened very carefully to the contributions made by my hon. Friends the Members for Wolverhampton, South-West and for Wimbledon in particular. They follow their constituents very closely in those matters. I am particularly persuaded by them that it would be right for us to look at the proposal and see whether there is scope to take it forward.

I hope that, with that assurance, hon. Members of all parties will give the clause a fair wind.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 33 ordered to stand part of the Bill.