56 and 57.
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation (1) the yield from the transport levy during the final quarter of the financial year 1953–54;(2) on how many A and B licences, C licences and Government and municipally-owned vehicles the transport levy was charged during the final quarter of the financial year 1953–54.
From the beginning of January to the end of February this year the yield from the transport levy was £3,425,000. It is estimated that a further £50,000 has been collected during March, making a total for the quarter of £3,475,000. Figures are not available of the total number of vehicles or the number hi any class on which levy has been charged.
Would not the Parliamentary Secretary agree that the figures he has given show the gross unfairness of this levy in view of the fact that up to now only 10 per cent, of the vehicles have been sold and that about 1¼ million vehicles are being taxed to meet a loss on 3,000 vehicles?
No, Sir. It was the intention of the Act to start to raise the levy from the beginning of this year.
Yes, but is it not a fact that £3 million has been paid on these vehicles simply to cover the loss on a mere 3,000 vehicles?
I do not understand what is unfair about beginning the annual levy as soon as the Act comes into operation. It is quite likely that all this money will be required.
Would the Parliamentary Secretary not agree that the sale of vehicles has been such a complete failure—only 3,000 out of 30,000 having been sold in 12 months—that the levy should be abandoned?
No, Sir, certainly not. I do not agree that sales have been unsuccessful. In any case, when he refers to the number of vehicles which have been sold the hon. Gentleman should remember that we are still in the early stages of the sales.
Will the hon. Gentleman look at the original list issued in the form of a White Paper and the speeches of the Minister on the subject to see how far they have departed from the original estimate of the yield of this levy?
I am willing to look at any estimate, but we are entirely satisfied with die way in which the levy is going at the present time.