asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport what is the basis adopted for granting permits to organised parties, such as bands, choirs, cricket teams, football teams, or any other groups who desire to travel by a public conveyance; and what is the maximum distance allowed for such vehicles.
Where it is desired to hire omnibuses or coaches for private parties, application must be made to the Regional Transport Commissioner for the issue of fuel for the journey. The relevant considerations are generally the availability of vehicles and crews without interference with essential services, the length of the journey and the adequacy of other means of transport. In the case of cricket or football teams engaged in representative matches or in the leading professional football competitions, a maximum distance of 50 miles is generally prescribed and for other cricket or football teams a maximum of 25 miles. In other cases the distance allowed depends on the circumstances.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Salvation Army band, Langley Moor, desired to travel to Dinnington and were refused, and because of that silly decision 10 men had to miss a shift in the pit, thereby losing that valuable contribution to coal production?
I understand that in the case of that particular Salvation Army band the journey involved a round trip of 220 miles. While we try to give these facilities wherever we can, in a case like that I think the Regional Transport Commissioner's decision was probably a right one.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that musical competitions and musical festivals are a part of the national life of Wales, and that the time has now come to relax some of these restrictions and enable the Welsh people fully to enjoy their national institutions?
I am grateful to the hon. Member for raising that matter. We have given permission in a number of cases for these choirs to travel, but each particular case has to be considered on its merits.
Is the Minister not aware that in this case the driver was there, the petrol was there and the bus was there, and still they were not allowed to travel?
March upon music to victory.
In all these cases the drivers have buses, but we feel that they should be used on essential services.