HC Deb 10 April 1957 vol 568 cc1110-1
41 Mr. Lewis

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation (1) if he is aware of the concern felt by British manufacturers of auto-cycles at the restrictions placed on their production by Her Majesty's Government's observance of international agreements on rating and classification of these types of vehicles; and whether he will agree to meet representatives of the manufacturers to discuss these problems;

(2) whether he will publish in HANSARD details of the international agreement on the rating and classification of auto-cycles, motor cycles, etc., to which his Department is party on behalf of Her Majesty's Government; the reason for Great Britain's observance of this agreement, in view of the fact that many European countries are failing to carry out these regulations; and whether he will either withdraw Great Britain's support from this agreement or allow British manufacturers to classify auto-cycles on the same basis as manufacturers in Germany, Italy and other Continental countries;

(3) if he is aware that, due to the strict adherence by his Department to international agreements on the classification and rating of auto-cycles, which are not observed by the rest of the European countries, British manufacturers of these vehicles are experiencing difficulty in manufacturing and exporting these vehicles to a ready world market, whilst foreign competitors are earning much hard currency at the expense of British manufacturers; and whether he will take the necessary action to ensure that the British manufacturers of the type of vehicle will have every encouragement to produce and export these types of vehicles.

Mr. Watkinson

The British manufacturers have recently submitted a memorandum setting out arguments which in their view would justify changes in our current practice and policy. Their proposals would exempt riders of certain types of machines from the need to hold a driving licence, to pass a driving test, or to have reached the present minimum age limit. Certain questions relating to the use of these vehicles are already under examination by the Departmental Committee on Road Safety. I shall be happy to arrange for a deputation to be received as suggested by the hon. Member.

Mr. Lewis

While thanking the Minister for that encouraging and sympathetic reply, may I ask whether he has received a memorandum issued by the British Cycle and Motor Cycle Industries Association, a copy of which I have in my hand? If not, will he receive it with my compliments and give the suggested deputation which he is to receive a sympathetic hearing?

Mr. Watkinson

I think that we have had that document, but the best thing would be for the deputation to come and make its case.

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