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The Withdrawal of the McKenna Duties Complete.

26th August 1924
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Page 1, 26th August 1924 — The Withdrawal of the McKenna Duties Complete.
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HE EFFECT of the withdrawal of the McKenna Duties upon imported motor vehicles has not been clear to everybody, in so far as it concerns the status of vehicles and parts already in the country, either in use or in stock or in bond, and even that authority upon import regulations, Mr. Henry Sturmey, for many years an occasional contributor to our columns, was caught napping in that he accepted the dictum of a local Excise official, and upon the strength.of his declared opinion wrote the artiele upon the incidence of the duties and their withdrawal, which appeared in our issue for August 12th. Frankly put, the deductions in that article were not correct, and we now 'have before us the more authoritative opinion of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise, from which it appears that the provision of the Finance Act of 1915, which imposes penalties in respect of the use for dutiable purposes of a motor vehicle exempted from duty under the appropriate section of the Act, is expressly limited to acts done while the duty remains in force.

As the McKenna Duties expired on August 1st, the provision of the Act has ceased to be operative, except, as regards offences committed prior to the expiry of the duties. We must candidly confess that we had not in mind the saving words of the section when Mr. Sturmey's artiele was being passed for press, nor could he have known of their existence. They constitute a most unusual example of legislative leniency, for one would have thought that the Customs would have insisted upon charging the duty incurred at any time upon a chassis, vehicle or component part which had been imported whilst the import duties were in force. However, it is now obvious that the vital date is not the date of importation, but that of•the act done, and that, from August 2nd onwards, any imported commercial vehicle or other chassis may be used for any purpose—including the carrying of passengers, private parties or persona without creating a .liability for import duty on the part of the owner. Therefore, an imported chassis which had, before the withdrawal of the McKenna duties,, lbeen, employed, for exaMple, in lonnection with the tranaport of goods and on which, therefore, no import duty had been paid, may now be employed for any purpose without rendering the user liable to the payment of the duty.

The error, however excusable, is to be regretted,

and we trust that those readers who have been in any way inconvenienced by it will accept our apology. It seal cely requires to be made clear that liability to duty has been incurred in respect of any chassis, vehicle or component -Part used for a dutiable purpose before August 2nd, even if only for a day or an hour.

A letter from the Secretary to the Commissioners of Customs and Excise lies before us, dated August 20th, 1924, and it reads as follows :—

Sir, An reply to Your letter of the 14th instant, 1

am directed by the Commissioners of Customs and. Excise to inform you that the provision in section 13 (4) of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1915, imposing penalties in respect of (inter alia) the use for dutiable purposes of any motorcar chassis, accessory or part which has been exempted from duty under that sub-section Was expressly limited to acts done while the day remained in force. As the duty expired on the 1st instant, the provision has ceased to have effect except as regards offences committed on or before that date.

t Motorcar parts and accessories imported under bond without payment of duty for use for exempt purposes which were duly produced to the officers of this department in stock unused on or after the 2nd instant are free from any restriction on their use so far as the question of import. duty is concerned.

I. am, sir, Your obedient servant, (Signed) JAMES COOK.

THE EDITOR; The Commercial Motor,

7-15, Rosebery Avenue, E.C.1.

How Brake Efficiency May be Ensured.

A SOUR columns have clearly shown, the police in ..Cl.many parts of the country are quite active in their efforts to discover amongst owners and drivers of motor vehicles those who are offending in the matter of brake efficiency. We believe the word of the police when they say that they wish to be fair, but we have asked that they shall consult motor experts

in order to secure a form or method of test which shall give a fair and accurate result, and not one that can be questioned, as in the case against the Anglo-American Oil Co., Ltd.

It will be readily conceded that The Commercial 'Motor has consistently and persistently asked for better design of motor vehicle equipment and for better maintenance methods, in order that there shall be greater safety in the use of commercial motor vehicles. Brakes can be designed to be better than they are, and, if not to be less liable to wear and loss of adjufstment, at least to be capable of easy adjustment, and to admit of easy and quick examination and ready replacement of worn parts. We have pointed out many bad practices in so-called maintenance methods which no fleet engineer or garage foreman should for a moment permit. Owners should definitely lay down the law amongst their employees that such practices as the bending of a brake 'rod, in order to take up wear, should cease under pain of certain penalty.

In order that there may be the fullest light thrown upon the problem, we publish in this issue an article by a qualified engineer and designer, in which the different defects that occur are described, showing why they happen and the methods by which they may be remedied. We deal fully with the question of wear and tear of linings, drums, shafts, cams, compensating links and joints, and assert that some of the small details of brakewOrk do not, as a rule, receive sufficient attention, Our article deals with the usual methods of testing brakes and brake connections for efficiency, and points out that the tester may easily be deceived in making the adjustment called for, unless he probes very fully into the question of wear between axle and bush.

Many mistakes are possible in the course of repair and replacement, such as the very elementary one of riveting a new liner to a brake shoe with hard rivets instead of soft ones. But the worst mistake of which any owner or fleet engineer may be guilty is to allow drivers to tinker with their brakes. A. regular system of inspection should be instituted, in order to ensure that the maintenance staff is doing its duty, and then, when the police make their tests (as they are justified in doing in the interests of the public), there will be nothing to fear.


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