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Public Service Vehicles (Travel Concessions) Act, 1955

Volume 649: debated on Wednesday 22 November 1961

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6.

asked the Minister of Transport how many local authorities have promoted Private Bills seeking powers to make travel concessions to pensioners and afflicted persons since the passing of the Public Service Vehicles (Travel Concessions) Act, 1955.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why these Bills were opposed during their passage?

Surely the right hon. Gentleman is not suggesting that in Private Bill promotion the Government's views are not sought. If the Government had wished that these Bills should go through there would not have been opposition to them.

In the case of all Private Bills it is up to the House of Commons as a whole to decide.

7.

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will give consideration to the introduction of legislation to amend the Public Services (Travel Concessions) Act, 1955, by extending its provision to local authorities competent to discharge the purpose of the Act and desirous of doing so.

While I sympathise with the problems of the classes of traveller affected by the provisions of the Act, I am not prepared to propose an extension of the concessions under the Act.

Why are the Government so much opposed to travel concessions for blind persons, people suffering from disabilities and old-age pensioners when so many of the large towns already provide these facilities?

To give concessions on particular services would give benefits to pensioners who use the services but not to those who do not use them. The same principle can be applied to such things as tobacco, where concessions which helped smokers did not assist nonsmokers. The great thing is to do what the Government have done, and that is to raise pensions.

But is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that some of the large towns have already implemented these concessions. Why, if they are able to do so—in spite of the anomalies about which the right hon. Gentleman talks—are the Government not able to do so as a whole? The Government would get a lot of credit for this, and that is what I thought the Minister was after.