§ Order for Second Reading read.10.15 pm
§ The Solicitor-General (Sir Derek Spencer)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
The Bill is the first of two consolidation Bills before the House tonight. It was produced by the draftsmen of the Law Commission and consolidates the enactments relating to vehicle excise duty and the registration of vehicles. There is a need for consolidation because provision about the subject has been made by numerous Finance Acts and other Acts since the last major consolidation in 1971.
In addition, the peculiar history of the provisions has the result that the current law cannot be ascertained by referring to the provisions in the body of the Vehicles (Excise) Act 1971 alone. It is necessary, in addition, to refer to modifications contained in the schedule which had originally been expected to operate transitionally for a few years only. During its passage in another place, the Bill was considered in the usual way by the Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read a Second time.
§ Mr. Marlow
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. When the Minister sat down, I stood up. Am I entitled to participate in the debate?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse)
I missed the hon. Gentleman, or he missed me, and I am afraid that it is too late for him to speak now.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Kirkhope.]
§ Bill immediately considered in Committee; reported, without amendment.
§ Mr. Marlow
I merely wanted to ask a brief question of my hon. Friend the Minister on whether clauses 1 to 20 should stand part of the Bill. An article in today's edition of the Evening Standard suggests that the form sent in when a vehicle passes from one party to another contains a box stating the mileage at the time of transfer. That box is filled in voluntarily, but if people were required to fill it in it would be much easier to prevent the clocking of vehicles. It would be possible for the authorities to assess the mileage as vehicles were transferred from one owner to another. There would also be a record of the mileage on the vehicle when the vendor passed it on to the purchaser. That seems an interesting and positive suggestion and I was wondering how my hon. Friend would react to it.
§ The Solicitor-General
As the House knows, this is a consolidation Bill. The Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills certified that it was purely a matter of consolidation and did not change the existing law. The point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) is not a matter relating to the consolidation Bill, but out of courtesy to him I shall pass on his comments to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport.
§ Motion made, and Question, That the Bill be now read the Third time, put forthwith and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed, without amendment.