HC Deb 30 March 1955 vol 539 cc351-2
7. Mr. Steele

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if, in view of the evidence that road hauliers are now combining for the purpose of avoiding rate cutting, thus nullifying the objective of free competition upon which the Transport Act, 1953, was based, he will now take steps to repeal the Act.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I do not accept the assumption in the first part of the Question. The second part does not, therefore, arise.

Mr. Steele

Is the Minister aware that Mr. Duncan Carmichael, who is the Scottish Area Chairman of the Road Haulage Association, said, in a speech to road hauliers at Aberdeen, that they must avoid rate cutting and must combine together for this purpose? Surely, that is against the aims of the Act, which was to ensure that competition existed?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am sure that the gentlemen in question, like all Scotsmen, made a very good speech, but I do not think that the quotation from his speech amounts to any justification of the implication in the Question.

Mr. Nabarro

Is it not a fact that the presence of several hundred thousand C licence vehicles will always infuse a large degree of competition into the road haulage industry and prevent any of the undesirable practices to which the hon. Gentleman's Question so falsely alludes?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I think it has something of that effect.

Mr. Callaghan

Is the Minister aware how glad we are to hear that the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) is catching up on the argument which we used against the disposal of nationalised lorries two years ago?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

That is the worst thing I have ever heard said of my hon. Friend.