§ 68. Squadron Leader Sir Gifford Fox
asked the Minister of Transport how many county councils have carried out his instructions for cutting down the number of roadmen and have completed the programme; and whether there is any change in his policy owing to the numerous protests from country districts.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport (Mr. James Callaghan)
By 31st May, 45 county councils out of 93 had released the number of roadmen requested. Where councils have found difficulty in complying, and the Minister of Labour advises that in that area men cannot readily be employed on other work, it has been arranged that the councils shall make further releases only as they are notified by the Ministry of Labour that suitable vacancies exist.
§ Sir G. Fox
Is the Minister aware that county councils who have carried out his instructions promptly are suffering from this lack of roadmen, and that in consequence many roads are getting overgrown, particularly at blind corners, a state of affairs which may lead to accidents?
§ Mr. Callaghan
A number of considerations are involved in that supplementary question. The answer to most of them is, "No," Sir.
§ Mr. Robinson
Is the Minister aware that many local authorities in the towns are protesting against the policy of cutting out roadmen from the staff?
§ Mr. Callaghan
My right hon. Friend is well aware that this policy is distasteful to everybody concerned, but it is a question of weighing the relative advantages and disadvantages.