HC Deb 05 December 1956 vol 561 cc1214-6
9. Mr. Dye

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what assistance, by modifying his regulations about driving tests or otherwise, he proposes to give to the motor driving schools which have had to close down since his decision to suspend driving tests, and the owners of which are faced with bankruptcy.

11. Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will give authority to the staffs of existing motor driving schools to conduct driving tests of motorists during the withdrawal of official testers for the present emergency.

12. Mr. Edward Evans

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he is aware of the hardship suffered by owners and instructors at schools and garages specialising in teaching driving arising from the suspension of the driving test, resulting in most cases in complete loss of earnings and unemployment; and what steps he proposes to take to alleviate this hardship.

27. Mr. V. Yates

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what schemes he has considered which would mitigate the hardship experienced by the driving schools in Birmingham and elsewhere arising from the suspension of driving tests: and what proposals he has for resuming the tests on a limited basis.

36. Mr. Wade

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, with a view to alleviating the hardship suffered by driving schools consequent upon the cessation of driving tests, if he will provide temporary employment within his Department for the qualified staff of driving schools pending the resumption of driving tests.

Mr. Watkinson

As I said on 28th November, in reply to Questions by my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann) and the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Hayman), I am most anxious to resume driving tests as soon as possible, and I am considering various possibilities with this end in view.

Mr. Yates

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that reply does not get us very much further? How long must we wait for cases of hardship, which are very serious in a city like Birmingham, to be dealt with?

Mr. Watkinson

The answer is that this afternoon I am seeing a deputation from all the interests concerned. They are coming to tell me of their difficulties. I propose to discuss the matter fully and see what suggestions we can arrive at.

Mr. Dye

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman make an arrangement whereby those who are learning to drive can register for tests when they are resumed, so that the schools can continue with the work of training potential drivers?

Mr. Watkinson

I had better wait until the schools themselves come to see me this afternoon to tell me what their ideas are.

Mr. Wade

As I understand that there is serious overwork among those who are dealing with petrol rationing and a threat of serious unemployment among the staffs of driving schools, will the Minister consult the Minister of Fuel and Power and consider the possibility of offering employment to the staffs of the driving schools to see them over this very difficult period when they often have no work to do?

Mr. Watkinson

I will certainly look at that.

Mr. Mikardo

Would the right hon. Gentleman take advantage of the changes in the arrangements for driving schools enforced by the present situation, and consider the possibility—I put it no higher—of laying down some standards of competence for instructors in driving schools?

Mr. Watkinson

That is something which I will certainly look at.