The British Grand Prix
Grand Prix Motor racing is at a very high level, with British drivers leading for the World Championship and the Vanwall sufficiently fast and reliable to win a Grande Epreuve for this country.
The French G.P. at Reims on July 1st promises to be a stupendous race and those who cannot cross the Channel can look forward to something equally epic at Silverstone, where earlier this year Moss in a Vanwall vanquished the Ferraris in the International Trophy race, on the occasion of the British G.P. of July 14th.
An R.A.C. race organised for the Daily Express by the B.R.D.C., this 105-lap, 315-mile race should attract an enormous crowd thirsting for a British victory. There will be supporting races for F. III racing cars, sports cars over 1 1/2 litres and for cars complying with next year’s 1 1/2 litre F. II. Details and applications for admission tickets should be made to the Race Office, Daily Express, Fleet Street, London, E.C.4. But hurry!
Purchase Tax On Homebuilt “Specials”
The present Government seems determined to hit hard at the long-suffering and outrageously-taxed motorist. If Bills at present before Parliament become law we shall have parking meters extracting heavy tolls because proper parking places have not been provided, fees to pay for certificates of roadworthiness on vehicles over ten years old, as a sop to anti-motorists who quote figures for accidents caused not by unsafe vehicles but by grossly unsafe roads, and those enthusiasts who assemble cars as a hobby will be required to pay 60 per cent. purchase tax on the wholesale value of their “specials,” or about half the retail value.
Parking meters will render shopping or business calls in London a financial nightmare. Compulsory vehicle examinations (paid for by us!) will make the repair trade rich at the expense of the used car dealers – already it is proving exceedingly difficult to sell any pre-1946 car for much above scrap-value unless it is in mint condition, and the equivalent of the pre-war £5 car is almost back again.
The purchase tax on “specials,” however, is the cruellest blow of all. Motorists apart, it is the thin end of a wedge which will sever further the citizens’ freedom, because “special”-building is a hobby and never before has a Government sought to impose purchase tax on hobbies – be they knitting pullovers, running model railways or constructing cars or household commodities.
Some shocking nonsense has been talked in the House of Commons by Sir Robert Boothby, M.P. for Aberdeenshire East, which makes one despair of ever getting politicians to realise the importance to British engineering prestige of success in motor racing, which is being so successfully achieved by cars like the Lotus, Cooper, Lister, Buckler and others – cars which the Finance (No. 2) Bill seeks to penalise so savagely, quite apart from the same politicians’ apparent indifference to the citizens’ rights in respect of their relaxations.
The clause of the proposed Finance Bill which affects the amateur “special” builder reads as follows:-
” 6.-(1) Where a person, whether registered or required to be registered or not, makes a vehicle to which this section applies (hereafter in this section referred to as a “car”), purchase tax shall be charged on the wholesale value of the car unless he makes it in the course of a business which ordinarily includes the manufacture of cars.
” (2) For the purposes of this section, a person shall be treated as making a car if he produces a car by assembling or completing the assembly of the parts, or try constructing or completing the construction of the body, or by reconstructing or converting or adapting a vehicle which is not a car; but a person reconstructing, converting or adapting a vehicle shall not be treated as making a car notwithstanding that he thereby produces a different car of the same or different type.”
Providing this clause becomes law then these changes shall have effect from June 1st, 1956.
Although the wording is somewhat ambiguous, the purport is clear.
Incidentally, the existing Finance Bill does not impose purchase tax on car components (except on isolated items such as mirrors, lamp bulbs, etc.) and it does not tax any non-profitable hobby. Now all this is to be altered, if those voting for the new Finance Bill have their way. The enthusiast constructing a “special” from component parts will be required to notify the appropriate authorities as soon as such a car has been assembled, whether new or secondhand, under penalty of a fine of £100 or three times the tax payable for not complying. Further, we gather that if such a “special” is to be taxed for road use the licence application form will bear a question asking if purchase tax has been paid, a revival of the spy-tactics the Government attempted to introduce in respect of car radio licences.
The effect of such a Bill on the specialist firms offering for sale components for the construction of “specials” can be imagined, and club racing will suffer a severe blow if the Bill becomes law, a point clearly expressed at the conclusion of the Eight-Clubs Meeting at Silverstone, when many signatures were appended to a petition against these new proposals.
Taxing home-built cars not only strikes a blow at the liberty of the individual but, by reducing the ranks of those who can afford to build such cars, amateur motor-racing entries will be depleted and export sales of components and vehicles will fall, because the very best “shop window” for British goods of this sort is evidence of popularity and success in racing and other competition events.
If you are moved to act against this Bill contact the “Special” Builders’ Association and write to your M. P. without delay.