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Government Cars

Volume 885: debated on Monday 3 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the number of cars available for the Civil Service in London; what was the figure in 1965; and if he will make proposals for a reduction to save fuel.

Government Car Service cars form a single pool which is drawn upon by both Ministers and officials. The availability of cars to Ministers and officials is determined by criteria of priority of need. The number of cars in the pool in 1965 and 1975 is, respectively, 158 and 202.The cars available today are, however, of a less luxurious standard than those available in 1965. The main cars in use are Rover 3·5s, Wolseley 6s and Wolseley 18/85s, whereas in 1965 the main cars in use were Austin Princess 4 litre, Humber Imperial 3 litre, Humber Super Snipe 3 litre and Humber Hawk 2½ litre, which were less economical on fuel consumption than the present cars.Other Government Departments operate car pools on a more limited scale, but in the time available it is not possible to determine the number of cars employed in London only.The use of these cars instead of public transport is authorised only when it is essential to enable the individual concerned to do his work more effectively and economically, or to avoid a disproportionate loss of official time. Many of the vehicles are employed at times of day or in localities where public transport does not operate.The need for fuel economy is borne very much in mind by the officers responsible for authorising the use of these cars.I do not, therefore, propose to make any reduction in the numbers employed.