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Hire-Purchase Bill

Volume 527: debated on Friday 21 May 1954

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Not amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.

2.5 p.m.

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

In the three previous Bills we have discussed the protection of dumb animals and birds. We are now to consider the protection of human beings in the purchases they make. I mentioned in Committee that I had contacted the Hire-Purchase Trade Association who, in turn, had contacted more than 20 national associations and that all those national associations, with the exception of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, had given their approval to the principles of the Bill.

When I said that, I was under the impression that the Motor Agents' Association, the Scottish Motor Trade Association, and the British Cycle and Motor Cycle Manufacturers' and Traders' Union were affiliated to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and that in my efforts with the last-named body I had covered those others. I now find that they are separate and independent bodies who, while approving the principle of the Hire-Purchase Act, 1938, do not agree to the removal of the separate category for motor vehicles.

I also understand that the Hire-Purchase Trade Association and the finance association support the attitude of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in regard to this aspect of the Bill. That is to say, while they wholeheartedly support maintaining the principle of bringing the 1938 Act into line with the changing value of money, they do not think that it should apply in the case of motor vehicles which, they think, should be kept in a separate category at a lower value.

It has been very clearly pointed out that because secondhand motor vehicles are approximately six to eight the times the price of comparable vehicles in 1938, the principles of the Bill are being maintained by bringing motor vehicles into line with everything else, and, therefore, not continuing the separate lower value category. If motor vehicles had been kept as a separate category the principles of the Bill in so far as they are intended to bring modern values into line with what was intended in the 1938 Act, would not have been followed. I hope that what I have said may clarify any misunderstanding which may have arisen as a result of what I said in Committee.

I hope that as this Bill has had support from all quarters of the House and has passed through Committee without Amendment it may pass this further stage, expeditiously. I should like to thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade and his officers for all their help. In particular, I thank the Parliamentary draftsmen for their assistance in drafting this Bill and in the preparation of a great deal of most valuable information which enabled my supporters and me to present a Measure which, I hope, will now receive the full approval of the House.

We on this side of the House, of course, support this Measure. Some of my hon. Friends have put their names to it. It went through Committee without Amendment. It makes further changes which we believe are very much for the better. In itself it is not a big Measure, but it has and will have wide repercussions among the very large number of people who obtain goods on the hire-purchase system. We congratulate the hon. Member for St. Marylebone (Sir W. Wakefield) both on his good fortune in the Ballot and for having the good sense to bring in a Bill of this kind. We wish it a speedy passage on to the Statute Book.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.