HC Deb 04 July 1930 vol 240 cc2328-30

"The provisions of Part II. of this Act shall not apply to a vehicle which is licensed under this Part of this Act to be used as a stage carriage, an express carriage, or a contract carriage, and belongs to a person who owns not less than one hundred vehicles so licensed and satisfies the appropriate traffic commissioners at the time of the application for the public service vehicle licence for that vehicle that he makes adequate financial provision for meeting any liability which would be required to be covered by a policy of insurance under section thirty-six of this Act."—[Major Glyn.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Major GLYN

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The purpose of the new Clause is to draw the attention of the Minister to the position of those large undertakings which have a fleet of not less than 100 vehicles. There is an elaborate system whereby such large undertakings are able to protect themselves and, incidentally, protect the public, and satisfy the licensing commissioners that they are not men of straw who operate these undertakings, and that in the case of an accident they have funds behind them to meet any damage that may be caused by such accident. We want to ask the Minister whether he would consider under Part II that the existing arrangement which has worked now for 25 years to the general satisfaction of the public and the undertakings that operate those services, might be allowed to continue. I am well aware that under Part II which brings about these sweeping changes it is objectionable from the Government's point of view to make any exceptions. These omnibus companies are more than willing to fall into line with anything that would improve the transport arrangements of the country. Therefore, if the Minister could give us an assurance that we should have the assistance of the Government in bringing into line the normal organisation for the insurance of these undertakings, and we can do so without having to lock up a great deal of capital, we shall be willing to withdraw this new Clause.


I beg to second the Motion.


I am sorry that I cannot accept this new Clause, because it would put the Traffic Commissioners in considerable difficulty in making themselves reasonably sure as to the satisfactory character of the financial provision that such companies had made. There is provision that if a large company deposits £15,000 in the High Court that will be satisfactory. I think the House will readily see that if the Commissioners were to be satisfied as to the financial provision made they could not possibly keep a continuous oversight. It is conceivable that a company with 100 vehicles might be on the verge of bankruptcy, for one reason or another, without the Commissioners being aware of it. I suggest to the hon. and gallant Member and those for whom he is speaking that a better solution would be—I appreciate that an individual company even a large company might not want to lock up £15,000 of capital—if a group of companies, with friendly relations, would get together and form an insurance organisation of their own, and register it in the ordinary way. In that case, instead of a large company being required to put up £15,000 the new organisation as a whole could do so, and come within the provisions of the Act. I should be perfectly willing in the course of administration not to be unhelpful in cases of that kind. I trust that that assurance may be satisfactory to the hon. and gallant Member.

Major GLYN

I thank the Minister very much for what he has said, and I beg leave to withdraw the Clause.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.