HC Deb 08 February 1956 vol 548 cc1649-50
21. Mr. Page

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will resume direct control of road safety propaganda so that such propaganda may have a national impact.

Mr. Watkinson

Road safety propaganda and education is chiefly valuable in its local and personal impacts, and I should like to take this opportunity of paying a sincere tribute to the immensely valuable work which is being done throughout the country by local authorities and local road safety committees.

Mr. Page

Is it not time that we treated 260,000 road casualties with more seriousness than by having silly little slogans on serviettes, sand bins and public urinals? Is my right hon. Friend aware that since his Department gave up control of road safety propaganda, courtesy weeks and safety campaigns have utterly failed to have any effect on road accident figures? Will he consult advertising agents and those who know about advertising to produce some real scheme which will make an impact on the public?

Mr. Watkinson

I am aware that my hon. Friend had better brief himself a little better on what local authorities are doing.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

Whilst everyone would agree that local efforts are very desirable, is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the only time when we had a really effective road safety campaign was when there was substantial expenditure on a campaign organised and initiated by the Government nationally, which, with local activities, had a remarkable effect on road accidents? Is it not time we had another such national campaign directed by the Ministry of Transport?

Mr. Watkinson

That is a different point. The point I was making in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) is that I am not prepared to throw away the valuable work done by local authorities and local road safety committees. The question of supplementing them is a quite different matter.

25. Mrs. Mann

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, how much per annum is contributed by his Department on road safety propaganda throughout Britain.

Mr. Watkinson

My Department spent £262,000 on road safety propaganda in the financial year 1954–55.

Mrs. Mann

Is the Minister aware that that is £262,000 more than is being spent on home safety, and that deaths in the home number 1,000 per annum more than deaths on the roads? Would the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that if one fine day he finds he has too much money for road safety propaganda, he will hand it over to a Minister responsible for safety in the home—if he can find such a Minister anywhere in Westminster?

Mr. Watkinson

I am afraid the hon. Lady, in her capacity as a member of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, has a dual loyalty, but I am afraid that I cannot spare any money.

Commander Agnew

Can my right hon. Friend say whether any of this sum includes grants made to local education authorities for making road safety a compulsory subject of instruction in the schools? If not, will he include enough money to make it one?

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