Explorator Lose Container Tax Case: Appeal to be Lodged H ONITON
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magistrates last week fined Explorator, Ltd., Lowestoft, £10 with £12 costs for using an insulated container as part of a vehicle for which a higher rate of duty should have been paid under Section 13(2) of the Vehicles (Excise) Act, 1949. An appeal is to be made against the decision.
The vehicle, an Austin petrol-engined model based at the company's Woking ham depot, was stopped by the police on October 5, 1953, and taken to a weighbridge. The weight of the vehicle was found to be 4 tons 3 cwt. with the ...ontainer and 3 tons without it.
It was stated that the container was _Bed for carrying fish, although at the ime of the police check it held only :mpty trays. Each container on the :ompany's vehicles was easily remov ■ ble and interchangeable for purposes )f repair, maintenance and cleaning. the container in question had been emoved at least once during the curcot licensing period.
Mr. H. Heathcote-Williams. Q.C., for he defendants claimed that the vehicle as brought by its use within the word-tg of paragraph (b) to the proviso to ection 26 of the Act, which dealt with
-te computation of the weight of chides. This paragraph exempted
-om inclusion in the weight containers
constructed or adapted for the perose of being. lifted on or off the
:hide with goods or burden contained erein " and which were "from time time actually used for that purpose the ordinary course of business."
No Business Process The chairman said that the removal the container from the vehicle was matter of convenience for the :fendants and not a process used in Innection with their business as rriers of fish.
Our legal correspondent writes: This cision may be contrasted with that Taunton magistrates reported in The muttercial Motor of November 20, 53. On similar facts, a summons ainst the Eldorado Ice Cream Co., d., under the same section of the hieles (Excise) Act, 1949, was missed.
There the magistrates evidently :epted the contention of the defence Li even if the only occasions on which container were removed were for rposes of repair or maintenance to her the container of the vehicle itself, h removal was a " use in the tinny course of business."
I was pointed out in editorial cornnt that such a decision was giving widest and most favourable intertation to these words and that there no guarantee that another court tht not follow the narrower interpre
on. This the Honiton • magistrates ,e now done.
Vhen the Divisional Court hear the cal, they may hide behind the screen ,aying that it is all a question of fact for the justices and not one of law. Not only is the question of taxation involved, but also that of whether the container vehicles are brought within the 20 m.p.h. limit.
Alan Smith writes: This was a tcst case. The Honiton magistrates were aware of the Taunton decision, but whichever way their deliberations had gone, an appeal would. I understand, have been made. Many operators arc affected and support from national organizations is likely to be attracted.
The question of speed limit, however, transcends that of taxation. Although 1 refrained from dealing with undecided legal aspects of Explorator's use of containers in my article in the March 12 issue, readers will gather that if the company's vehicles become subject to a 20 m.p.h. restriction, the basis upon which a rapid distribution system has been built will be critically affected.
VEHICLE BUILDERS MEET MINISTRY OFFICIALS
THE deadlock on pay negotiations between the employers and three unions representing some 40,000 workers in the vehicle-building industry was discussed with Ministry of Labour officials by representatives of the employers in London last week.
As reported in The Commercial Motor on March 5, the unions have asked the Minister for the assistance of conciliation officers in the dispute.
After consulting their constituent members the employers are to communicate with the.Ministry again.
ROYAL TIGERS FOR MADRAS
FORTY Leyland Royal Tigers with Pneumo-cyclic gearboxes have been ordered for service in Madras. Dr. U. Krishna Rao. Madras Minister for Motor Transport, has told the legislative assembly that sanction has been accorded for the purchase of 50 oil-engined buses. These would he delivered early in the forthcoming financial year.
PAY RISE=FARE RISE?
THE extra 3s. a week pay rise to platform staffs, which will cost Ribble Motor Services, Ltd., £120,000 a year, may compel them to increase fares. according to the general manager. Mr. H. Bottomley. A cut in the 1550.000 they pay in fuel tax would help to offset this.