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Heavy Goods Vehicles (Speed Limit)

Volume 530: debated on Tuesday 20 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Labour how the information about the nature of the objections of the trade unions to the raising of the heavy goods speed limit was obtained in view of the fact that there have been no formal consultations between his Department and trade union officials on this subject: and whether he will now take steps to ascertain what precisely is the nature of these objections so that when the time is opportune to promote agreement between employers' and employees' organisations about this matter there will be no delay through lack of information.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and National Service
(Mr. Harold Watkinson)

I would refer my hon. Friend to my answer on the same subject on 22nd June, when I said there had been no formal consultations recently. Formal consultations did, however, take place at an earlier stage between the unions concerned, and the then Ministers of Transport and Labour and National Service. As a result of those consultations, and more recent informal contacts, I am satisfied that there is no lack of information as to the views of the trade unions on this matter.

Notwithstanding what the hon. Gentleman has said, can the Minister say whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to re-open these important discussions, as it is solely a question of raising production in the heavy vehicle industry?

To the Ministry of Labour, the question of timing is usually everything, and it is the view of my right hon. and learned Friend that the time is not appropriate for any further consultation.

In view of the increasing density of traffic on the roads, does not the Minister agree that to increase the speed of heavy goods lorries increases the danger that we experience every day on our arterial roads?

Is my hon. Friend aware that goods-lorry drivers often go at 30 to 40 miles on hour, and then go and have a sleep in a lay-by road?