HC Deb 21 August 1940 vol 364 cc1294-5
39. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the desirability of reducing as far as possible during the war the employment of transport which consumes petrol, he will consider the advisability of setting up an inquiry into the possibilities of extending the use of horse transport in all cases where economy rather than speed is the primary consideration; and whether he has taken any steps since hostilities began to encourage maintenance of, or reversion to, horse transport with the object of economising important fuel?

Sir J. Reith

I entirely sympathise with the suggestion, but I hardly think an inquiry is necessary. The rationing of liquid fuel is in itself an incentive to the maximum use of horse transport. It should be remembered that any substantial increase would involve importation of horses and increased demand for feeding-stuffs, which are already in short supply.

Mr. Mathers

Does the same objection apply to licences of vehicles propelled by electricity? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that where petrol vehicles have been taken from traders for war purposes the traders are finding great difficulty in getting licences for the electrically propelled vehicles which they have bought in their place?

Sir J. Reith

I am sorry I do not quite understand how that arises out of this particular Question, but if the hon. Member will explain to me further afterwards, I will deal with the matter.

Major Sir Jocelyn Lucas

Is the Minister aware that light horses are cheap and cannot be given away?