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The Committee divided: Ayes 164, Noes 300.
Division No. 161]
[8.27



AYES


Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Alexander, Danny
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Barrett, John
Bellingham, Mr. Henry

Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burt, Alistair
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clappison, Mr. James
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dodds, Mr. Nigel
Donaldson, rh Mr. Jeffrey M.
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, Mr. Mark
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gray, Mr. James
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Hayes, Mr. John
Heath, Mr. David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Holmes, Paul
Horam, Mr. John
Horwood, Martin
Hosie, Stewart
Howarth, David
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Maples, Mr. John
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
McCrea, Dr. William
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moore, Mr. Michael
Mulholland, Greg
Mundell, David
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Price, Adam
Pritchard, Mark
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rennie, Willie
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Robinson, rh Mr. Peter
Rosindell, Andrew
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, David
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Smith, Sir Robert
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Stanley, rh Sir John
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Taylor, Matthew
Thurso, John
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Walter, Mr. Robert
Watkinson, Angela
Weir, Mr. Mike

Whittingdale, Mr. John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Stephen
Wilshire, Mr. David
Winterton, Ann
Wishart, Pete
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Ayes:

James Duddridge and
Jeremy Wright
NOES


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Balls, rh Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, rh Hilary
Benton, Mr. Joe
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, rh Andy
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, rh Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, Mr. David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs. Claire
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Dai
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Durkan, Mark
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, rh Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Mr. Tom
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hendrick, Mr. Mark

Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hood, Mr. Jim
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Irranca-Davies, Huw
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, Dr. Alasdair
McDonnell, John
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGrady, Mr. Eddie
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, rh David
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, Mr. George
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Sandra
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, rh James
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Reid, rh John
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Christine
Ryan, rh Joan
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Seabeck, Alison
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Alan
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Geraldine
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis

Stewart, Ian
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Vaz, rh Keith
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Waltho, Lynda
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Wills, Mr. Michael
Wilson, Phil
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wyatt, Derek
Tellers for the Noes:

Ms Diana R. Johnson and
Mr. Sadiq Khan
Question accordingly negatived.
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29 Apr 2008 : Column 241

29 Apr 2008 : Column 242

29 Apr 2008 : Column 243

Clause 117 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 15


Rates of vehicle excise duty

Stewart Hosie: I beg to move amendment No. 9, page 8, line 4, at end insert—

‘(3A) In paragraph 1C (the reduced rate)—

(a) in sub-paragraph (1) for “or C” substitute “C or D”;

(b) after sub-paragraph (4) insert—

“(4A) Condition D is that the vehicle is a working vehicle.”; and

(c) in sub-paragraph (6) insert at the appropriate place—

““working vehicle” has such meaning as may be prescribed by the Treasury in regulations made by statutory instrument,”’.

The Temporary Chairman: With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 10, line 17, at end add

(7) The amendments made by subsection (3A) shall come into force on a day which the Treasury may by order appoint.’.

Stewart Hosie: I have no ideological or intellectual difficulty with using price to change behaviour, such as the Government want to do with fuel duty, or with using price and changes to vehicle excise duty to encourage car manufacturers, for example, to create low-emission vehicles and to encourage people to buy them. However, I do have difficulty with the implementation of provisions such as those in the Bill, particularly where the consideration of those provisions seems to have taken place without considering the groups of people on whom they may have a disproportionate impact. I suppose that in respect of that argument, there is a similarity with how the Government went about the abolition of the 10p rate, seemingly not understanding the impact that it would have on 20 per cent. of households in the country.

The groups about whom I am concerned in relation to VED are mainly in agriculture, forestry or similar occupations and they work mainly in remote and rural areas. They tend to be employees on low, agricultural wages, although they may be self-employed; they may be small farmers, for example. Many such people need 4x4 vehicles simply to get to or do their work. However, they are unlikely ever to be able to afford a brand new
29 Apr 2008 : Column 244
4x4 with lower emissions, even if such a vehicle existed. They are therefore unlikely ever to benefit from the lower rates of VED.

Although the lower rates will apply to vehicles registered before 21 March 2006, many of those who can least afford the additional cash for the higher rate may be forced to find it in future, as vehicles registered after that date, still roadworthy, become affordable——in five, 10 or 15 years’ time—to people on low wages in the sectors that I have mentioned. By that time, those vehicles will attract the higher rate.

Amendment No. 9 would substitute the reduced VED rate for designated working vehicles. It would allow the Treasury to define “working vehicles” by regulation for that purpose and the regulations to be approved by statutory instrument. That would allow scrutiny but enable the definitions to be done quickly. Amendment No. 10, an associated amendment, would allow the changes brought about by amendment No. 9 to come into force on a day that the Treasury may appoint, without a vote in the House, to ensure that they can be introduced speedily.

I said that “working vehicles” would be defined by the Treasury, but I envisage that they would include the vehicles of such people as farmers, particularly hill farmers, and those in associated sectors in remote and rural areas. I hope that some of the comments that I shall cite, from the National Farmers Union Scotland and others, demonstrate not only the desirability but the need for such a measure.

It is worth putting it on the record that many of the people affected by the higher rates of VED, who live in remote rural areas, are already paying very high prices on very low wages, not least for fuel and energy. I think particularly of fuel—diesel is routinely hitting £1.30 a litre.

John Thurso (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) (LD): The hon. Gentleman has talked about remote rural areas, and I am sure that he would include the county of Sutherland in that description. He will be aware that crofters, who I hope would be included in his description of those affected, have a particular problem. Very often, the working vehicle is the only vehicle—it is what takes the ewes to market and the children to school. The county is the area with not only the highest diesel price, but the greatest distance between filling stations. Taken together, those factors create real need, and there is no public transport to ameliorate the difficulty.

Stewart Hosie: The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right in every regard, including his comments about Sutherland. Crofters are defined in a number of ways; there are Acts that define crofting. Crofting is employment, but in a sense it is also a way of life. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to say that the vehicle is not only necessary for the job of crofting; given the location of some crofts, it is also absolutely essential to get to the front door from what passes as the main road.

I turn to the support for the measure that I propose, or one similar to it. Jim McLaren, president of the National Farmers Union Scotland, said:

Anna Davies of the NFUS put it more clearly when she said only two weeks ago:

When she sums up, I hope that the Minister will comment on that technical matter. The NFUS says that farmers have no alternative, and that they simply cannot purchase vehicles with lower emissions that are able to do the job on the farm.

In addition, I hope that the Minister will be a little more generous than she was when she responded recently to a senior Member of the House. In answer to an oral question, she said that he was

I shall spare the hon. Gentleman’s blushes, Sir Nicholas, but that answer suggests that the Government believe that all the people who drive 4x4s—be they brand new Range Rovers or a beat up old Land Rover on a hill farm—are really just versions of the same person, and that they drive the same cars for the same reasons. That, of course, is wholly and utterly wrong.

8.45 pm

The National Gamekeepers Association has said that it is worried about the impact of increased 4x4 taxes on what it considers to be essential rural work. Alex Hogg, chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, said that four-wheel drive vehicles were

Once again, I hope that when she sums up the Minister will say something about the essential nature of 4x4 vehicles, and that she will take on board the assertion by the Scottish Gamekeepers Association that they

They are clearly working vehicles, doing precisely what they are designed for. The people who use them do not earn big money: many are self-employed and bear the full burden of the costs, and I hope that the Minister will take that into consideration in her reply.

I want to say something about two other small groups of people—one, the employees of Scotland’s five ski resorts, is very small indeed. They are a tiny group in the big picture, and people such as ski lift operators earn very low wages, but they are essential to keeping the ski resorts operating. They also ensure that nearby resorts and towns remain tourist destinations for 12 months a year.


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