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Volume 478: debated on Monday 18 September 1950

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Commission (Report)


asked the Minister of Transport whether he has yet received the report of the Transport Commission for 1949; and when it is proposed to publish it.


asked the Minister of Transport whether he has yet received the report of the British Transport Commission for 1949; and when it will be published.

I expect the report and statement of accounts of the British Transport Commission for 1949 to be published towards the end of this week.

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate how very inconvenient it is to hon. Members if they have to wait until very nearly 1951 before getting the report of the Commission for 1949? Will he convey to the Commission our displeasure in the matter and urge them to do their job properly next year?

I think that when I dealt with the question before the House rose in July I indicated that it is always desirable to get these accounts out as quickly as possible. They are enormous accounts and there have been one or two delays, as I said then, but they will be published towards the end of this week. I am not aware that that will cause the House any inconvenience.

Is the Minister aware that it is over two months since he told us that the report was almost complete and that printing was well in hand? Bearing in mind that it will be almost out of date by the time hon. Members receive it, will he please administer to the Transport Commission an expression of his displeasure and that of the House?

The hon. Member could not have read the reply I gave him in July, because I said then that I would publish the report in September.

In view of the long delay and the vastness of the accounts, to which the Minister referred, is this not proof of the undesirability of creating the colossal monopolies that Members on the other side are so fond of condemning?

Travel Facilities, North Devon


asked the Minister of Transport why it has been found necessary to discontinue the priority queueing for workers in the area served by the Southern National Omnibus Company; and whether he is aware that this will be the cause of considerable inconvenience to workers in North Devon.

Priority queueing for workers was introduced in the country generally to meet the special conditions obtaining during the war. It was commonly authorised by the war-time permits which were substituted for road service licences. Since the end of the war there has been a general return to the principle of equal facilities for all travellers; also most of the war-time permits have now been replaced by the normal road service licences which cannot be used to authorise priority schemes. The Southern National Omnibus Company, who are withdrawing their priority scheme today, are alive to the need for clearing queues without undue delay and adjusting bus schedules as may be necessary, in order that there may be the minimum of inconvenience to the travelling public generally.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there would be no inconvenience if there were enough buses?

That is a matter for the licensing authorities. If the hon. and gallant Member cares to put that point to me, that can be looked into separately. That is a different point from the priority principle.

Parking, Inner London


asked the Minister of Transport whether he has considered the report of the Sub-Committee on Parking in Inner London sent up by the London and Home Counties Transport Advisory Committee; what are its main recommendations; and what action he proposes to take.

The Sub-Committee have not yet reported. They are still taking evidence but I hope to receive their report by about the end of the year.

Municipal Car Parks


asked the Minister of Transport if he will seek power to make grants towards the cost of municipal car parks in view of the increasing number of vehicles on the road.

I realise the importance of municipal car parks as helping towards the solution of the problem of traffic con- gestion, but I cannot commit myself to seeking the power suggested by the hon. Member.

Highways, Western Europe (Committee)


asked the Minister of Transport why no British Government representative is serving on the ad hoc working party appointed by the Sub-Committee on Road Transport of the Inland Transport Committee, and set up by the Economic Commission for Europe, for the purpose of implementing the highway construction programme for Western Europe approved by the Commission; and whether, in view of the importance of the international development of roads, steps will be taken to provide for the representation of this country.

It is the policy of His Majesty's Government to play a full part in the work of the Inland Transport Committee of the Economic Commission for Europe at Geneva. My hon. Friend will appreciate, however, that international road traffic between this country and the Continent is on a small scale compared with that between the countries of continental Europe. The agenda of the meeting of the particular ad hoc working party to which my hon. Friend refers did not appear to me to justify the attendance of a representative from my Department.

Does not my right hon. Friend think that the future importance of the highways of Western Europe justifies his Department in showing a rather more lively interest in the matter?

We do take a lively interest, but when I considered the two main items of the agenda I did not think it worth either the time or expense of sending a representative.

Winchester-Southampton Road


asked the Minister of Transport how long work has been in progress upon the recent alteration to the Winchester to Southampton road at the Compton road junction; and what has been the cost of the said work.

This work has been in progress for one year and ten months and has cost about £17,300. It should be completed in November and the final cost will be about £18,800.