HC Deb 29 May 1919 vol 116 cc1406-7
47. Major Earl WINTERTON

asked the Prime Minister how many passenger motor cars, the property of the public, are at present placed at the disposal of the British delegation to the Peace Conference in Paris; whether any check is kept on the mileage run; and whether there is any authority responsible for the use to which the cars are put, or whether Ministers, military and naval officers, and Civil servants, to whom a car or cars are allotted, are permitted to use them for any purpose which they may desire?


There are fifty-one cars employed by the British Peace Delegation, but, owing to the necessity for repairs and a shortage of drivers, the number in use from day to day is considerably short of that figure. A check is kept of the mileage run and a monthly return rendered. A certain number are allocated to Plenipotentiaries, Ministers of the Crown, and Dominion Prime Ministers, and are used at their discretion. The remainder form a common pool, and can only be used on written requisition sanctioned by a responsible official, whose duty it is to investigate and control the purposes for which each car is to be used in the interests of the public service.

49. Mr. R. McNEILL

asked the Prime Minister when the custom was introduced of providing officials in Government Departments with special means of locomotion between their offices and homes or clubs at the public expense; and whether, in view of the need for economy in administration, he will give instructions that no transport shall be provided for any official except at his own cost?


I am afraid that it is true that the abnormal conditions prevalent during the War have given rise to the abuses. The whole question of control of Government motor cars is now being carefully considered by His Majesty's Government, and I hope that in a short time instructions will be given which will deal satisfactorily with this among other aspects of the subject.


Am I to understand that the custom has originated since the beginning of the War?


I believe that is so, and I think it was only natural, because there were no means of getting locomotion.