HC Deb 17 March 1925 vol 181 cc2064-5

asked the Minister of Transport if it is his intention to order the Borough of Rawtenstall and the Ramsbottom Urban District Council to grant licences to the Ribble Motor Services, Limited, to run services from Burnley to Rochdale, from Burnley to Bury, and from Burnley to Bolton, all three of which routes traverse the whole length of Burnley Road West tramway route, at present served by corporation omnibuses and tramways; and, in view of the fact that such action will involve the Corporation of Rawtenstall in serious financial loss, he will postpone his decision and make further inquiries into the financial results of such action upon the municipally-owned undertakings?

Colonel ASHLEY

The refusal of the local authorities to grant licences, and the application of the Rawtenstall Corporation for consent themselves to operate an omnibus service outside their area to Burnley on the route referred to, were fully investigated at a local inquiry which occupied three days. At this inquiry the corporation were legally represented and the financial position of the tramway undertakings was exhaustively dealt with. I have intimated to all the parties interested that I cannot support the local authorities in their total refusal to grant any licences to the company, and also that my consent will be given to the corporation operating a service of omnibuses as far as the borough boundary of Burnley outside their own area. I have also suggested that the parties concerned should meet in an endeavour to agree with regard to the services and conditions of operation in the general interests of the public, and have offered to render any assistance in my power.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the effect of his attitude towards the local authorities not only involves a loss of trade, but also a very severe loss in rates and, in connection with the previous answer, a loss on the upkeep of roads?

Colonel ASHLEY

I cannot admit that that contention is correct. I always do my best to safeguard the local traffic of local omnibus or tramway companies.


Is not a decision like this, which may involve a serious loss to municipalities, putting too great a responsibility upon an individual?

Colonel ASHLEY

The duty is put upon him by the Act of 1920, and if the hon. Gentleman does not like it he should seek to have it changed.


Does not this go to show that Socialist enterprise can succeed only where it has a monopoly?


Is not the action taken with regard to municipalities in the provinces contrary to the action taken in the case of London?

Colonel ASHLEY

I do not agree with my hon. Friend.