HC Deb 23 September 1948 vol 456 cc1064-5
26. Mr. J. Lewis

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that as a result of the 10 per cent. cut in the allocation of petrol to private hire services, they are now getting on the average only two gallons a day as compared with five gallons a day granted for use by public hire vehicles; and, as private hire service can often be obtained at night when no public hire vehicle is available and the proprietors need petrol as a means of livelihood and not for pleasure, will he agree to the restoration of this 10 per cent. in their allocation.

Mr. Gaitskell

No, Sir. The average allowance for private hire car services is 2¼ gallons a day compared with three gallons a day for provincial taxis and 4½ gallons a day for London taxis. The 10 per cent. cut was applied to operators of taxis and other recipients of supplementary allowances, as well as to operators of private hire car services. I have no reason to think that it bears more hardly on the latter than on other classes, and I am not prepared to restore it.

Mr. Lewis

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that many ex-Service men put their gratuities into businesses of this kind and were just able to carry on with the petrol made available to them before the cut, but now that the cut has taken place some of them are going out of business?

Mr. Gaitskell

In this matter I cannot accept the suggestion that we should make any distinction of the kind suggested by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Teeling

Is the right hon. Gentleman taking any interest at all in the ordinary citizen who has to use these cars, because, as far as one can see, all the petrol was used up in the summer, and they are going to be in a frightful position in the winter?

Mr. Gaitskell

There is no reason to believe that the ordinary citizen suffers such grave hardship, as the hon. Member seems to suggest. from lack of hire car facilities.

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