HC Deb 26 January 1944 vol 396 c684
42. Sir Herbert Williams

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he has any statement to make in respect to the idle mileage run under the road haulage organisation of his Department; and the result of his inquiries into the particular cases, details of which have been sent to him.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport (Mr. Noel-Baker)

As my hon. Friend will realise, the traffic to be carried between two given places may often be consistently heavier in one direction than it is in the other. When the normal flow of traffic is thus unbalanced, some light or empty running is inevitable, whether by road or rail. Light running may also occur under the road haulage scheme when we concentrate road vehicles from different areas to clear the congestion of essential and urgent traffic at a port. These considerations explain the light running of the vehicles about which my hon. Friend sent me information.

Sir H. Williams

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a great many experienced people think that there has been far more light running since his Department took charge?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Yes, Sir, I am aware that that is being freely said, but whenever I am given a concrete example I find that it is explained by the considerations which I have put forward.

Mr. Butcher

Has my hon. Friend considered representations from the employers and the trade unions, both urging that the scheme should be abandoned?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Yes, I have; but I do not find them convincing.