asked the Minister of War Transport whether he is aware of the serious shortage of motor-omnibuses in rural areas; and what steps he is taking to extend the present inadequate services now that the war is over.
the Minister of War Transport when he expects to be in a position to augment the present inadequate motor-omnibus services in rural areas and to provide such services in areas where public transport facilities are lacking.
Considerable improvements in the services in rural areas have already been effected, but I am aware that in many cases they are not yet adequate to meet the reasonable needs of the public. They will be progressively improved as the necessary crews and vehicles can be made available.
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that this matter is closely associated with the shortage of agricultural workers, and that his Ministry could make a great contribution to the increase of home-grown food if these facilities were increased?
I am fully aware of the urgent need, from many angles, for improving rural services. I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that every effort will be made to accelerate that progress.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in some areas Italian and German prisoners of war are still being conveyed to and from their work in coaches? Could they not be taken in Army lorries and the coaches released for civilian purposes?
I suggest that the hon. and gallant Member puts down a question if he desires a reply on that point.