HC Deb 16 June 1938 vol 337 cc380-1
32. Mr. Benjamin Smith

asked the Home Secretary what were the terms of the application made to him jointly by owners and drivers of taximeter-cabs in London on 10th December last; what representations were made by the deputation from the London cab trade which was received by the Under-Secretary of State on 16th February last; and whether he is now prepared to recommend, in the interests of London transport, the extension to private hire vehicles of the regulations and restrictions which apply to taximeter-cabs?

35. Mr. Cluse

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware of the rapid growth in the use in London of cars which, although equipped with taximeters, are not licensed as taximeter-cabs and operate free from control of any authority and from the restraint of any regulations for public passenger-carrying vehicles; and what action he is prepared to take to protect the interests of taximeter-cab drivers and their employers?

Sir S. Hoare

On 10th December I received a memorandum urging legislation on this subject and asking that a deputation should be received. The deputation was received on 16th February, and on 4th March a further memorandum was submitted on certain questions raised at the deputation. The effect of the representations made to me is that vehicles which are privately hired ought—unless they charge fares higher than taximeter fares—to be subjected to those provisions of the law which govern vehicles plying for hire in the streets. Such proposals raise issues which have to be considered from the point of view of the general public as well as from that of the owners and drivers of cabs. Moreover, the question does not affect London only. The position in the Provinces has to be considered. In these circumstances my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and I have decided to appoint a small committee to examine the problem. Such an inquiry should not take long, and it is important that the views of the various interests concerned should be heard and that the problem both in London and the Provinces should be viewed as a whole.

Mr. Benjamin Smith

Is this to be a Select Committee?

Sir S. Hoare

It will be a Departmental Committee.

Mr. Smith

Will the right hon. Gentleman recollect that it is four months since the deputation was received, and that nothing has been said to them during that interval?

Sir S. Hoare

I am satisfied that an inquiry is necessary and that it should not take long, and that it will prove to be the quickest way of dealing with the question.