Paragraph 4 of the Second Schedule to the Finance Act, 1920, shall have effect with the substitution of the words "Tractors, agricultural tractors, and agricultural engines, other than such tractors or engines in respect of which a duty of five shillings is chargeable, used solely in connection with agriculture" for the words "Tractors, agricultural tractors, and agricultural engines, other than such tractors or engines in respect of which a duty of five shillings is chargeable, used for haulage, solely in Connection with agriculture."
§ Postponed Proceeding resumed on Question, "That the Clause he read a Second time."
§ Question again proposed. Debate resumed.
§ Mr. NEAL
When the proceedings of the Committee were interrupted by the Private Business, my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Midlothian (Lieut.-Colonel Sir J. Hope) had pro- 2184 posed this new Clause. He appealed for some further relaxation of taxation in regard to agricultural tractors. I regret that I cannot meet his views in this matter. The whole question of motor taxation it at present subject to the consideration of a, Committee. With reference to this particular new Clause, the question has arisen in this way: A concession was made to agriculture in respect of certain agricultural tractors, on the ground that they did not normally use the roads. They were used normally on the land and only occasionally for hauling goods on the roads. That class of vehicle, therefore, escaped with the very low tax of The vehicles of a similar class which are used for the carrying of goods, and which, therefore, normally do use the roads, and on that basis have to pay for the upkeep of the roads, were charged a higher duty. I regret that I cannot meet the views of my hon. Friend, and that I must ask the Committee not to accept this Clause.
§ Mr. ROYCE
I hope the Committee will accept the Clause, and for the reason that, so far as agriculturists are concerned, they pay exceedingly heavy rates for the upkeep of the roads, and they 2185 are in quite a distinct and separate position from the rest of the community who use vehicles on the roads for purposes of hire. It seems to me that the Mover of this Clause has made out an excellent case. I would urge its acceptance for a further reason. I know I shall offend the susceptibilities of some of my friends opposite when I say that this is a slight weapon in the hands of the agricultural community to combat the present ruinously heavy railway rates charged on agricultural produce. It is for that reason principally, and, secondly, because agriculturists, especially farmers, pay very heavy rates in comparison with the amount of use which they make of the local rural roads, that I support the Clause.
§ that poor Cinderella, agriculture, is to be left out in the cold. This is an extremely hard case. As my hon. Friend the Member for the Holland Division (Mr. Royce) has pointed out, the farmers pay almost the whole rates for the roads, except for the small subsidy from the Road Board. What we ask is, that if the tractor be used for purposes of conveying goods to market, the farmer should be allowed to get his tax at a lower rate. I do suggest, under the circumstances, having regard to the unsatisfactory reply received from the Government, that we should go to a Division.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 75; Noes, 136.