§ 1. Mr. John Wilmot
asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is aware of the acute distress among taximeter-cab drivers occasioned by their petrol ration; whether he will consider increasing this ration; and, if necessary, take steps to tighten the regulations in other quarters?
§ The Secretary for Mines (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)
Apart from representations of a general character which I have received from the hon. Member, I have no information in regard to any such distress. As he will appreciate, the governing considerations in fixing the petrol allowances for taxi-cabs must be the requirements of the public and the need for economising the use of motor spirit. I have no reason to think that, judged by these standards, the present ration is inade- 1862 quate. Every effort is being made to enforce the strict application of the petrol rationing scheme.
§ Mr. Wilmot
While thanking the hon. Gentleman for his reply, may I ask whether he is aware that a large number of taximeter-cab drivers are on public relief, as they are unable to make a living on the present ration; that the demand for cabs at the London railway termini is unsatisfied; and that if the shortage of cabs leads to an increase in the number of private cars on the road, the amount of petrol used will be increased?
§ Mr. Lloyd
At the beginning of the war, about 3,500 taxi-cabs were requisitioned for the London Auxiliary Fire Service and there was in consequence a shortage of cabs for ordinary purposes, but I understand that hundreds of these cabs have already been released and that a great many more will be released in the near future.
Mr. J. J. Davidson
In view of the representations made by many cab-owning firms in the provinces, does the Minister consider that the small ration which they are getting to-day is justified, as compared with the ration which is given to other users of petrol?