Chancellor Refuses Concession on Balancing Charges
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THE Chancellor of the Exchequer has refused to give way on the question of balancing charges on compensation paid to hauliers whose businesses were nationalized. He has also made it clear that he is not willing to enter into further argument on the matter.
This reply has been given to representations by the Road Haulage Association, who claimed that it was inequitable to levy balancing charges on transport operators when other industries escaped them.
This line of approach was adopted by the Association after the High Court, on appeal, had ruled that transport operators whose businesses were compulsorily acquired were liable to balancing charges.
" N.C.B. Started Rates War
IT has been confirmed by coal
IT has been confirmed by coal has in Carlisle that this ratecutting war in connection with the contract was started by the National Coal Board office. We have taken it up with them, but, unfortunately, the N.C.B. authorities are very reluctant to discuss these things.'
Mr. G. Gillespie, district traffic superintendent's office, British Railways, Carlisle, made this statement before the Northern Licensing Authority last week. Mr. Gillespie was referring to the carriage of coal from St. Helens colliery to Carlisle.
J. and W. Watt, Ltd., Metcalfe Street, Carlisle, sought to add two tippers to their B licence. Mr. S. J. Mogerley, acting manager, N.C.B. marketing department, Carlisle, said that the Board now employed the applicants to carry coal, whereas the railways had previously been used. The rail rate was 13s. 10d. a ton and the road charge 12s.
Mr. Gillespie stated that as the railways now had a freer hand in negotiating rates, they would be prepared to quote 10s. or 10s. 6d. a ton.
Mr. John B. Watt, managing director of the applicant concern, denied that he was entering rate-cutting competition with the railways.
The terms of Watt's B licence, on which seven vehicles were specified, were varied to that coal and coke could be carried within 40 miles, and two vehicles were added to it, but the carriage of coal from St. Helens was disallowed.
BRISTOL HAULIERS FINED £69
FINES totalling £69 were imposed on Messrs. Hunt Bros., hauliers, Abbotts Leigh, near Bristol, at Long Ashton last week for violating the conditions of their licences. It was staled that vehicles had been seen by traffic examiners carrying coal from National Coal Board premises at Stoke Gifford to Portishead power station. This work was unauthorized, although the licence conditions had since been altered.
For the defence it was stated that the drivers concerned had not been with the firm long and were not acquainted with the licence restrictions. Two drivers were each fined £5 for failing to keep proper records. The R.H.A. are not allowing the matter to rest there. The long-distance panel of the Association, who met last Friday and considered the subject in detail, are now trying to find a suitable test case to contest the valuation on which charges are to be based.
The tax authorities have held that the price paid in compensation was in fact the market value. The R.H.A. dispute this reasoning and incline to the view that, in the circumstances existing at the time, compensation paid was higher than the market value.
Mr. Henry Brooke, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, has told the R.H.A. that exemption from balancing charges cannot be granted to transport operators by concession and that retrospective legislation cannot b.2 introduced. That, he said, was the Chancellor's decision, and he hoped that the R.H.A. would accept it.
No Loss of lax
Mr. Brooke justified the exemption of the gas, electricity and railway undertakings on the ground that the new nationalized bodies took over the liabilities of the previous owners and that there was no loss of tax. The iron and steel industries were nationalized by transfer of shares and there was no change in legal ownership and no loss of tax.
Road transport businesses which were sold voluntarily also escaped the charges. Mr. Brooke ventured the opinion that if in those cases there had been liability to balancing charges, the amount paid for the shares would have been different.
In compulsory acquisitions, liability fell on the old owners of the vehicles, but. said Mr. Brooke, if it had devolved on the British Transport Commission, the amount paid might have been lower. Balancing charges shoul d, in his opinion, be based on what the hauliers were paid. but the question of market value could be determined on appeal to the Special Commissioners or the High Court.
THE bus service between Graniown and Newtonmore, Morayshire, operated until October last by Mr. J. P. Burgess, Boat of Garten, has been taken over by Mr. Norman Smith, Grantown. Mr. Smith will begin running early next month, and from April-September there will be an extended service.
Fitter's Conviction on Records Stands
THE Scottish Justiciary Appeal Court last week dismissed an appeal brought by Edinburgh Corporation against the conviction of a fitter who drove a vehicle to a breakdown but did not keep a record of the journey. The corporation pleaded that fitters were not required to keep records under the terms of the Goods Vehicles (Keeping of Records) Regulations.
Lord Clyde, the Lord Justice-General, and Lord Russell rejected this view, but Lord Sorn gave a dissenting judgment.
Article 6 of the Regulations, said Lord Clyde, defined a part-time driver, as the fitter was admitted to be, as "a person who is employed partly in driving an authorized vehicle, and partly on other work not connected with a vehicle or its load."
Lord Clyde took this to mean that the employee was not relieved of a duty to keep records if he worked part of his time in driving a vehicle. Lord Russell said that it was indicated that it was the act of driving, rather than the trade of the person driving, which made the keeping of records obligatory.
Lord Sorn stated that it seemed to him that the regulations would have said so if it had been intended that they should apply at any time to any person who drove a vehicle, instead of giving a careful definition of a part-time driver. This suggested that the application of the regulations was in some way restricted.
NEW ATLAS MANCHESTER DEPOT
XTENS1VE new premises at DeanRoad, Salford, were officially opened for the Atlas Express Co., Ltd., on Tuesday by the Mayor of Salford, Ald. George Goulden. The new site occupies about two acres and includes a loading bank, office block and repair'. shop. The depot was designed by Mr. V. R. Neathcrway, director and northern manager.
About 25 vehicles are located there at present. The Manchester headquarters of the company were previously situated at Sackville Street.
WE regret to announce the deaths of SIR GEORGE KENNING and MR. C. A. LEIGH.
Sir George, who was chairman and managing director of Kennings Ltd., and other companies, died on Monday at the age of 75. He began in the motor industry many years ago in a small way.
Mr. Leigh had been transport engineer of Lakeland Laundries, Ltd., since 1950, having previously been fleet engineer of Aerowata, Ltd. As honorary secretary of the north-western centre of the Institute of Road Transport Engineers before 1950, he helped to build up the Institute in that area.