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Reconditioned Motor Cars (Ex-Servicemen)

Volume 441: debated on Monday 28 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Supply if he will undertake that all surplus Government motor cars of a size suitable for reconditioning for disabled ex-Service men will be made available for them and will not be sold to Government Departments, Government corporations or to the general public.

Government owned cars cannot be made available to other users if they are required by Government Departments. Apart from this, all suitable cars are allocated to disabled ex-Service men, who are given priority over Government Corporations and the general public.

Why will the Minister not make available to disabled ex-Service men all cars which come from the Services and which are surplus to requirements? Why does he allow them to be sent on to Government Departments and Government corporations?

I have said they do not go to Government corporations. They are not surplus to Government requirements if they are required by Government Departments. Unless I am able to use secondhand cars to meet these urgent Government demands I should have to buy new cars, which I am sure would be wrong at this time.

In view of the fact that the Minister of Transport informed me a week ago in this House that there were only 966 disabled ex-Service men on the waiting list, could my right hon. Friend give some indication when he expects the requirements of those men will be met?

Very few cars suitable for this purpose are coming forward. Of the 2,800 cars that have come forward only 223 have been used by other Government Departments, so that nine out of every 10 have gone to ex-Service men. I will do my utmost to reduce that list as soon as I can.

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it would be much more desirable to give these cars to ex-Service men than to high officials of the Government?

I have said twice today already—and it is perfectly true—that the Coal Board is not given priority over ex-Service men. Nor will it be.

Is it not a fact that the Minister answered me only a few weeks ago saying that over 2,000 of these cars, suitable in size for ex-Service men—that is of 14 h.p. and under—had, in fact, been sent to Government Departments or Government corporations?

When the right hon. Gentleman is considering this matter will he take into account the number of cases of 100 per cent. ex-Service men, where the Minister of Transport has refused even to accept their names? Consequently, the figure of 966 is not the full figure.

I am aware that there is a considerable demand, but the fact is there are not the cars to meet it.

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.