§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede)
With your permission, Sir, I should like to make the following statement.
Sir Alan Rae Smith has been examining the costs of running taxis in London with a view to advising me whether any revision of the present fare system should be made as there has been no increase in these fares since 1933. I have asked Sir Alan Rae Smith for a special interim report on the increase in the fares which might be justified by the increased tax on petrol. Sir Alan Rae Smith has said that the increased cost to be attributed to this source would be met by an increase of 3d. on the fare for each completed journey. Acting on this advice I have decided to make an Order, as an interim measure, authorising such an increase in the Metropolitan Police district as from Sunday midnight.
§ Mr. Osbert Peake
While we cannot take exception to this, so long as it is the Chancellor's intention to increase the price of petrol, would not the Home Secretary add a word of praise for London taxi drivers for their forbearance in not having asked for an increase of fares in the last 16 years?
§ Mr. Rankin
My right hon. Friend used the phrase "an increase of 3d. on the fare for each completed journey." Could he explain the words "completed journey" a little further?
§ Mr. Molson
If this inquiry for this increase of fares has been confined to the increase of the price of petrol, will the Home Secretary say what procedure is being adopted to inquire into other increases of costs, such as, for example, the very great increase in the capital cost of taxicabs since before the war?
§ Mr. Nally
Would my right hon. Friend not agree that the probability is that the real effect of what he has quite properly just announced will simply be, from the point of view of the taxi drivers employed by firms, that the increase of threepence will mean a reduction in their tips, and that the average driver will be no better off.
§ Sir George Harvie-Watt
Does the right hon. Gentleman's statement mean that there will be an alteration in the figure shown on the taximeters?
§ Mr. Jennings
Does the right hon. Gentleman mean what he says when he stated 474 that taximen will get 3d. on 9d. and 3d. on 9s.? If so, it is fantastic.
§ Mr. Ede
No, Sir, I do not think it is. We have to try to do these things in the simplest form. The hon. Gentleman is himself an accountant, and this is the recommendation of, I think, the most distinguished member of his profession. He proceeded in the normal way in which accountants and actuaries work, with a profound belief in the law of averages.
§ Sir David Robertson
The right hon. Gentleman's statement refers to Metropolitan taxicabs. Does this increase apply throughout Great Britain?
§ Sir D. Robertson
Will the Home Secretary get into touch with these lesser authorities, because if this is fair in the Metropolitan district, it must be equally fair in other districts.
§ Mr. Baldwin
Would the Home Secretary agree that a fair and simple way to effect the increase would be a penny in the shilling as shown on the taximeter?
§ Mr. Rankin
While this increase may be necessary, I hope it will not be an indication of what may be expected elsewhere.