HC Deb 03 November 1943 vol 393 cc657-8
42. Major Lyons

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether, in view of the changed situation and the extended manufacture of synthetic rubber, some of the necessary road services, both passenger and goods, can be restored; and whether, in the national interest, he can now review the present policy of transfer of traffic to rail?

Mr. Noel-Baker

As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour said on 23rd September, the Government are anxious to make all practicable improvements in the transport facilities for workers. Arrangements are, therefore, being made to strengthen omnibus services where the need is urgent, and where the necessary drivers and conductors can be found. Goods vehicles are available, and will be used to relieve the railways, when they are required. But I must warn my hon. and gallant Friend that, in spite of the present improvement in fuel supplies and the prospect that we may receive some synthetic rubber, it is still necessary to economise in fuel, tyres, vehicles and man-power, and, therefore, to avoid any unnecessary use of road transport.

Major Lyons

In view of the recent statement made by the proprietor of one of the biggest synthetic rubber plants in America, while in England, will the hon. Gentleman take some steps to review the matter?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Yes, but much the greater difficulty is the provision of omnibus crews and maintenance personnel. The pressure on personnel in the coming winter will be very heavy indeed.