HC Deb 27 May 1935 vol 302 cc760-1
48 and 50. Lieut.-Colonel ACLANDTROYTE

asked the Minister of Transport (1) whether any danger was caused to the public owing to the variation order granted to C-licence holders in 1931; and, if not, whether he will consider his decision to refuse such orders in future; and

(2) why he did not feel justified in granting the application of C-licence holders for a variation order; and in what way it would depart from the principle of Section 19 of the Act of 1930, in view of the fact that an order was granted under this Section in 1931?


My hon. Friend carefully considered this matter, before coming to the decision that he was not justified in making an Order the effect of which would he very substantially to relax the requirements of Section 19 of the Act of 1930 in favour of drivers of all goods vehicles. While he cannot point to particular accidents which could be said to be due to the Variation Order granted in 1931, which expired two years ago, over-fatigue is a potential source of danger on the roads, and in present circumstances he cannot take the view that a wholesale extension of driving hours, such as was recently sought, would not be likely to be detrimental to the public safety.

Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE

If the Minister can grant a variation to holders of A and B licences, why can he not grant it to C-licence holders?

Captain. HUDSON

There is a difference between the A and B and the C-licence holders. In the case of the former there was no opposition to the variation, but there is opposition in the case of C-Licences. There are also other points of difference.

Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE

Are not the trade unions opposing this to force conditions on the employers, and is not the Minister allowing himself to be dictated to by these unions?

Captain HUDSON

I certainly could not accept that suggestion.

Lieut.-Commander AGNEW

Is there not some dissatisfaction among traders at the differentiation in treatment?

Captain HUDSON

That may be so, but Parliament gave sanction to insert this Section for purposes of road safety, and, if the Minister were to make the suggested variation, every commercial vehicle user would be able to drive for a greater number of hours, thus thwarting the will of Parliament. My hon. Friend is not prepared to do that without very much fuller information as to the working of the existing arrangement.

49. Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE

asked the Minister of Transport what advice was given to him by the Industrial Court which considered the application for a variation order for C-licence holders?

Captain A. HUDSON

My hon. Friend is not prepared to depart from the established practice of not publishing the reports or indicating the nature of the advice which he receives as a result of the statutory references to the Industrial Court in these matters.