VED: extension of old vehicles exemption from 1 April 2017

Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:15 pm ar 7 Gorffennaf 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Rebecca Long-Bailey Rebecca Long-Bailey Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

This clause extends the exemption from vehicle excise duty to vehicles constructed 40 or more years ago on an automatic rolling basis on 1 April each year. The VED exemption is intended to support classic vehicles, which the Government consider—and I agree—to be an important part of the nation’s heritage. It appears to be a simple legislative change to create a rolling 40-year exemption, rather than requiring separate legislation year by year. We did not oppose the equivalent measure in the Finance Act 2014 when the Budget 2014 proposal for a rolling exemption was debated, and we do not oppose this clause today.

However, the Minister is not going to get off that lightly. I would like him to address a couple of my concerns. The policy paper indicates that the clause has no Exchequer impact, but the tax information and impact note for the original measure in Budget 2014 projected an impact of £5 million in 2016-17, £10 million in 2017-18 and £15 million in 2018-19. Will the Minister clarify whether there has been a change in the Treasury’s assessment of the impact of the measure, or whether the zero impact assessment relates purely to the technical change to the legislative mechanism, rather than the underlying policy?

Furthermore, the original note stated that in 2014-15 the measure will

“have an advantageous impact for the owners of around 10,000 classic vehicles...Every year thereafter, the number of classic vehicles will increase as additional cohorts of vehicles are included in the exemption. It is estimated that an additional 10,000 classic vehicles will be affected in each year of the scorecard.”

As of 30 September 2011, 162,734 cars and 152,836 other vehicles were exempt from VED on the grounds of age. Will the Minister confirm that the figure of 10,000 vehicles in the HMRC policy paper is additional to the figures in previous years, and will he give us an update on the total number of vehicles, either today or later in writing?

It was originally estimated that the cost of a systems change to revise the qualifying cut-off date for the exemption each year would be £40,000, which was to be met by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. Will the Minister confirm that the systems change has now taken place? What is the Government’s assessment of its operation to date and will they confirm that no further costs will be incurred in that regard? Finally, will the Minister explain what administrative issues owners of classic vehicles might face in navigating the scheme? Are they granted a lifelong VED exemption on their car’s 40th birthday or will they have to apply for the exemption on an annual basis? How does the automaticity introduced by the clause affect that?

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds The Exchequer Secretary 2:30, 7 Gorffennaf 2016

I rise to speak to a fairly uncontroversial clause on the exemption of classic vehicles from VED. The Government believe that classic vehicles are an important part of the nation’s heritage. According to the Historic Vehicle Research Institute, the historical car industry employs about 28,000 people in the UK. The VED exemption is designed to support the maintenance and use of classic vehicles.

The classic vehicles VED exemption was first introduced under the Conservative Government in 1996 on a rolling 25-year basis. The Labour Government froze the exemption in 1998 so that it applied only to vehicles built after 1 January 1973. The Government announced in Budget 2013 that they would extend the exemption to vehicles built before 1 January 1974. Budget 2014 went further, announcing the introduction of a new rolling 40-year VED exemption for all vehicles, which extended the exemption to vehicles constructed before 1 January 1975 and 1 January 1976, to come into effect on 1 April 2015 and 1 April 2016 respectively.

Clause 139 places the VED exemption on a permanent basis so that, from 1 April each year, vehicles constructed more than 40 years before 1 January of that year will be automatically exempt from paying VED. In 2016-17, the exemption is worth £145 or £235 depending on the vehicle’s engine size. As the hon. Lady said, the Government estimate that about 10,000 owners of classic vehicles will benefit each year, and that is additional to previous figures.

The operational cost of the programme to the DVLA is the negligible cost of updating its IT systems, which will need to be done each year. The standard in the financial statements and in setting out projections rounds down to the nearest £5 million, which means that the cost of a single year is less than £5 million and is therefore classed as negligible. However, the tax information and impact note refers to a rolling programme, so we have to add up the less than £5 million each time.

This measure ensures administrative and legislative efficiency by automatically extending the classic car exemption on a permanent basis. I hope the clause stands part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 139 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 140 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 141