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Surplus Motor Vehicles

Volume 414: debated on Monday 15 October 1945

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asked the Minister of Supply and of Aircraft Production if he is aware that there are in this country dumps containing large numbers of military lorries now surplus to military requirements; and if he will take steps to secure the release of these vehicles in order that they can be used for essential civilian transport purposes, both in this country and in the recently occupied countries.

asked the Minister of Supply and of Aircraft Production if he is now in a position to make a statement regarding the release of motor-vehicles from the Service Departments for the use and benefit of commerce and industry.

asked the Minister of Supply and of Aircraft Production what steps are being taken to make surplus vehicles, belonging to the Services, available for purchase by the general public.

There are in these country three types of park containing transport vehicles—

  • (a) War Office Vehicle Reception Depots which contain the Army's reserve vehicles as well as Lease-Lend vehicles the disposal of which is now the subject of discussion with the United States Government.
  • (b) Ministry of Supply Parks which contain vehicles declared surplus by the Services and due to be disposed of by the Ministry of Supply.>
  • (c) Ministry of Supply Parks which contain vehicles not suitable for reconditioning and which await breaking down for produce.
  • 2. As and when the Army declare vehicles surplus they are handed over to the Ministry of Supply and are classified as either—

  • (a) fit for further use after servicing;
  • (b) fit for further use after reconditioning;
  • (c) unfit for further use and to be broken down.
  • 3. Priority of allocation of the fit and reconditionable vehicles is given to Government Departments, who place their demands through the Ministry of War Transport, to U.N.R.R.A. and to certain Allied Governments. Against these priority demands 27,000 fit and reconditioned vehicles have already been supplied to Government Departments in this country, and approximately 11,000 for use in liberated Europe. 5,500 further vehicles have been allocated to U.N.R.R.A. and only await the shipping to carry them.

    4. After the satisfaction of these priority demands the balance of surplus vehicles of suitable types is handed over to the manufacturers for re-distribution through trade channels. These vehicles are reconditioned either by the manufacturers or by their agents and are sold only to purchasers who hold permits to acquire obtained from the Ministry of War Trans port.

    5. The capacity available for reconditioning vehicles is a limiting factor. This capacity consists in the main of the manufacturers agents all over the country, who are also concerned with the repair of private vehicles. At the present moment, under the Ministry of Supply, some 1,000 vehicles a week are being repaired for return to the Services, and a further 900 a week for Government Departments, U.N.R.R.A. and the Allies. In addition, between 300 and 400 a week are being handled under the control of the manufacturers themselves. It is hoped substantially to increase this latter figure in the near future.

    6. There are at present in Ministry of Supply Parks some 50,000 vehicles. It is probable that about half of these are unsuitable for civil use due either to their age and mechanical condition or to the fact that they are of specialised military types. Further surpluses are at the moment being declared by the Services at a rate of some 800 to 1,000 per week.

    7. My right hon. Friend the Minister of War Transport and I are fully conscious of the need to get all suitable surplus vehicles quickly to work on behalf of liberated Europe and of the transport needs of this country, and we are using to the full all available capacity to this end. We are, however, determined to avoid filling the roads of this country with unsafe vehicles.