HC Deb 13 May 1830 vol 24 cc702-4
Sir J. Wrottesley

rose to move for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the duties, Salaries, and Emoluments, of Hackney-coach Commissioners, and the present state of public carriages in the Metropolis. The hon. Baronet prefaced his Motion by stating the inconvenience which arose from the present system, and the necessity which existed for some change for the public advantage: he conceived that that necessity must be apparent to every person who had had an opportunity of observing the present state of things. By the appointment of a Select Committee to investigate the subject, a fair opportunity would be afforded to all parties interested to state their case. Should a change be determined upon with regard to the present system, a considerable change, he was sure, would be recommended by the committee: it would be open to any individuals to prefer claims for compensation; but, if it should appear that they had not done their duty, he did not conceive that they could be entitled to any compensation. The hon. Baronet concluded by moving—"That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the Duties, Salaries, and Emoluments of the Commissioners for the regulation of Hackney-coaches within the Bills of Mortality, and into the state of the public Carriages within the said Bills, and to report the evidence, and their opinion thereon, to the House; and also to inquire into the state of the Law affecting the same, and to report their opinion thereon to the House."

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

did not rise to give any opposition whatever to the Motion of the hon. Baronet—on the contrary, he was extremely glad that the hon. Baronet had moved for this Committee. This was a question which, however trifling it might appear, had occupied for a considerable period much of the attention of the department over which he presided, and the only difficulty which appeared opposed to that change which seemed so desirable, consisted in the adjustment of those claims for compensation which individuals filling certain public situations might set up with re- gard to what they might consider exclusive rights and exclusive emoluments. These were matters which could be no where so satisfactorily adjusted as in a Select Committee of that House. He should not, at that late hour, go further into the question. He should content himself with saying, that he most readily acquiesced in the Motion of the hon. Baronet, and he had no doubt that the result of that committee's labours would be, to place the accommodation afforded by public carriages on a better footing than it was at present, and one more calculated for the public advantage. It was his intention to effect great convenience for the public in this respect, by a provision in the Bill which he should shortly lay before the House for the amendment of the Stamp-acts, relating to the regulation of stage-coaches. As the law at present stood, with regard to Hackney-coaches, stage-coaches were prevented from taking up passengers upon what were called "the stones," and no Stagecoach could ply for passengers in London. Now he proposed to remove that impediment. He was of opinion that the greatest possible convenience would arise to the public by permitting those coaches to ply regularly from one part of this metropolis to the other, for, by that means, the middle and poorer classes would be enabled to travel cheaply and expeditiously from one end of London to the other. He had had an interview with the parties whose interests were principally involved in the coaches which under the existing law, were allowed to ply in London, and no difficulty had been started by them to this proposition. He was satisfied that the arrangement would not only be beneficial to the public, but that it would not be injurious to the owners of those coaches; for the class of persons who would travel in the Stage-coaches when they should be suffered to ply in town, were not those who would at any time take a Hackney-coach if the law remained as it was at present.

Motion agreed to, and Committee appointed.

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