CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - ARMY TOURING CARS.

asked the Minister for Defence how many touring cars there are in the possession of the Army, and of what types, and the capital cost of these in the aggregate, what is the monthly cost for the running and upkeep of these cars, what officers are entitled to use the cars of each type, what duties require the allocation of each type, what is the form of authorisation given for such use of touring cars, and what is the basis of allocation of such cars for the use of officers.

There are in the possession of the Army 285 touring cars, as follows:—

207

Ford

Touring

Cars

25

Crossley

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,,

2

Dodge

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15

Vauxhall

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6

Overland

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,,

4

Rover Sunbeam

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,,

1

Star

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,,

2

Hupmobile

,,

,,

4

Hudson

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1

Buick

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,,

1

Angus Sanderson

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,,

1

Clement Talbot

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,,

1

Benz

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,,

11

Fiat

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,,

1

Briscoe

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,,

1

Chandlier

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,,

1

Wolseley

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1

Metalurgique

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,,

Many of these are cars seized or commandeered during the recent fighting. They are not all in use. The following are particulars in respect of cars which are in use:—

Ford

Touring

Cars

115

Crossley

,,

,,

16

Dodge

,,

,,

2

Vauxhall

,,

,,

9

Overland

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,,

1

Rover Sunbeam

,,

,,

4

Hudson

,,

,,

1

Buick

,,

,,

1

Angus-Sanderson

,,

,,

1

Fiat

,,

,,

6

Total

156

Of which, roughly, 25 per cent. are off the road at all times for overhaul or light repairs.

It is not possible to state the actual capital cost of these cars. They come under four headings:—

(1) Cars taken over from the British Government at the time of evacuation by the British forces and in respect of which no specific sale figure is yet agreed on.

(2) Cars of various types that fell into the possession of the Army during the recent fighting.

(3) Cars commandeered from private owners.

(4) 25 new Ford Touring Cars at a cost of £130 each.

It is not the practice to keep a separate account in respect of the running and upkeep of each particular car. The average monthly cost for repairs and upkeep is £28 per car in use.

The duties of the Senior Officers attached to G.H.Q., Command Headquarters, and Special Services are such as make it essential to allocate touring cars to them individually. In the cases of Branches of the Administrative Departments of the Army the allocation is not made to officers, but to the particular branch. In allocating cars to officers or departments the type of car is not taken into consideration.

In the case of cars allocated to certain individual officers, the car is officially allocated in Departmental Routine Orders, and the officer concerned is responsible for the proper use of the car. In the case of cars allocated to Departments the head of the particular Department is held responsible for the proper use of the car. Each driver carries in his possession a Duty Order indicating his duties, journeys undertaken, etc.

Will the Minister state if such allocation is made to Officers strictly for service duty only, and not for private purposes, and secondly, if there are any regulations governing the matter, would he give those regulations?

The allocation is made strictly for official duties. I will see what regulations are available in the matter, and have a copy sent to the Deputy.

Do these cars pay the ordinary tax which the motor cars of private individuals pay?

They are not liable to pay the ordinary road tax.