HC Deb 08 October 1942 vol 383 cc1356-7
44. Mr. Evelyn Walkden

asked the Minister of Health whether available figures of taxicab licences in towns and cities in Yorkshire show any appreciable signs of an increase as compared with 1940 or 1941; and whether he has any recent information on the extent of unfair and excessive fares being charged by hackney carriage licence holders and owners plying for hire at railway stations after the normal public-service vehicles have ceased to run?

Mr. E. Brown

The fares chargeable by the owners and drivers of hackney carriages are fixed by by-laws made by the local authorities concerned and confirmed by me. Complaints of charges in excess of by-laws would ordinarily be made to the local authority and no information has come to me regarding unfair and excessive charges in Yorkshire. The number of hackney carriage licences to be granted by a local authority rests in that authority's own discretion, subject to an appeal to the Courts in any case where a licence is refused, and here again I have no information upon the number of licences which have been granted in Yorkshire towns.

Mr. Walkden

Has my right hon. Friend not received reports of the considerable agitation in Yorkshire over the ramp, which is worse there than it is in London, and have not chief constables and chairmen of watch committees stated that licences have increased by over 100 per cent. in some towns and that fares are up tenfold—if they can be obtained, as they can, from Service men in difficulties?

Mr. Brown

As I have said, I have had no information from the authorities, but I would like to talk to my hon. Friend about the evidence which he has.

Sir F. Fremantle

When, how and to what extent has this subject been transferred to the right hon. Gentleman's office from the Home Office, which used to deal with it?

Mr. Brown

This side of it has always lain with me, because responsibility is with the local authority under by-law.

Mr. Levy

Is the Minister aware that I, as a Yorkshire Member, have received no allegations in regard to this matter, and that the hon. Member ought to have more foundation for his observations than hearsay?

Mr. Brown

In that case my hon. Friend will perhaps join us in our conversations.

Mr. E. Walkden

The information includes the city of York and Harrogate.