HC Deb 02 December 1936 vol 318 cc1252-4
53. Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

asked the Minister of Transport whether his attention has been called to the methods adopted by the railway companies in opposing applications for renewal of "A" and "B" licences and, in particular, to a case before the East Midland Traffic Commission Court, in which the applicant has already answered approximately 1,000 questions put by railway companies; and will he consider the advisability of issuing regulations which will prevent the railway companies causing unnecessary inconvenience and expense to applicants for a renewal of licences?


The conduct of an inquiry into an application for a licence is a matter for the licensing authority, and Parliament has conferred rights of objection, with which it is not competent for me to interfere, on railway companies in common with other persons who provide facilities for transport.

Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to the fact that the railway companies are asking the most intimate questions about the private business of firms who are merely applying for the renewal of these licences which they have had for many years, and will he consider the fact that firms all over the country are being put to great expense?


I cannot exceed the powers which Parliament has bestowed upon me.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in this case the railway company asked to be granted the right to inspect the private books of this man?

56 and 57. Mr. JAMES HALL

asked the Minister of Transport (1) the total numbers of "A," "B," and "C" licences issued to road transport undertakers, and the number of licences which have been withdrawn in each group for offences in regard to the keeping of records, the hours of drivers, and the fair wages condition?

(2) the actual number of examiners appointed under the Road Traffic Acts; the number of summonses taken upon reports made by them as to breaches of the Acts; and the number of convictions obtained against the holders of "A," "B," and "C" licences, respectively


I will, with permission, circulate the figures asked for in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is tine information:

The total numbers of carriers' licences extant on 30th April, 1936, were: "A" licences, 28,916; "B" licences, 34,320; "C" licences, 161,535. The number of examiners appointed under Part IV of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, and the Road and Rail Traffic Act, 1933, is 280, excluding officers who are occasionally employed upon duties connected with the enforcement of the conditions attached to licences. Such information as is available on the other points raised in the questions is contained in the annual reports of the Licensing Authorities published in March, 1936, and covering the period up to 30th September, 1935.

58. Mr. HASLAM

asked the Minister of Transport whether any cases have occurred in which holders of "A" and "B" licences granted for claimed tonnage, having a clean driving record and being fully employed on the same work as when the licences were granted, have been refused a renewal of their licences; and, if so, on what grounds?


I have no information. The licensing authorities do not report their detailed decisions to me.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a considerable amount of dissatisfaction among these small business men driving their own cars about the difficulties the railway companies place in their way in renewing their licences.


I am aware that many people have grievances, but I can only deal with those grievances with which I have power to deal.


Can the right hon. Gentleman not take power to get rid of this gross injustice which is inflicted upon road transport?


I am not prepared to admit the gross injustice.


We have given evidence.


I should have to have the facts before me.