To ask the Minister for Local Government if he is aware of a widespread feeling that a horse-power tax on motor driven vehicles is both inequitable and not in the best interest of this country, having been first adopted by the British Government for reasons that have not any meaning in Ireland, and if he will consider recommending that such a tax should be altered to a tax on petrol?

Representations were made towards the close of last year that the horse-power tax on private motor cars was inequitable, and I found that I was empowered to make regulations as regards the mode of calculation of horse-power in the case of privately owned vehicles. Such regulations have been made, and came into force as from the 1st instant. The result is reductions in taxation on several of the cars most generally used.

The law as it stands precludes a variation in the tax on motor cycles, tractors, and commercial goods vehicles, etc., which are taxed on weight, or on hire cars (including char-a-bancs), taxed on seating capacity.

I understand that the motor spirit tax which was in force some years ago was abolished on account of various administrative and other difficulties, such as—the definition of motor spirit, the difficulties in rebates for industrial and aviation purposes, the taxation on steam and electric vehicles, and use of paraffin and paraffin mixtures.

The most careful consideration possible is obviously necessary of the effects of any changes in the various forms of the existing taxation, which render them different from the forms of taxation in use in Great Britain and in the NorthEastern Counties. Those who advocated the immediate introduction of a motor spirit tax cannot have informed themselves fully of the provisions of the existing law, or concerned themselves with many businesslike precautions, which would be essential if such tax were to be introduced.