HC Deb 13 May 1957 vol 570 cc7-10
14. Mr. Gower

asked the Paymaster-General if he will grant petrol concessions to motorists going to remote parts of Wales similar to those which he has made to motorists going to the Scottish Highlands; and if he will make a statement.

9. Mr. Llewellyn

asked the Paymaster-General whether he will extend the concessions granted to motorists visiting the Highlands of Scotland to those visiting the highlands of Wales.

13. Mr. P. Thomas

asked the Paymaster-General if he will grant additional petrol to enable motorists to visit North Wales comparable to the additional allowances he has made in respect of the Scottish Highlands.

Mr. Renton

The arrangements for providing motorists who visit the North-West Highlands of Scotland with extra petrol were made because of their great distance from the large towns in England and for other strong reasons. The position with regard to parts of Wales is under consideration.

Mr. Gower

It may well be that this is under consideration, but may I ask my hon. and learned Friend whether he will take into account the fact that some of these remote parts—in particular Cardigan and Merionethshire—are as difficult to reach from some of the larger concentrations of population in England as are some of the Scottish Highlands?

Mr. Renton

We will certainly bear in mind what my hon. Friend says, but it would be quite wrong to assume that the distances between the large centres in England from Wales are anything like as great as they are from Scotland.

Captain Pilkington

Will my hon. and learned Friend also give consideration to South-West England?

Mr. Renton

That does not arise on this Question.

Mr. Hayman

Will the Parliamentary Secretary remember that last week I asked the Paymaster-General to bear in mind that in my constituency summer bookings are down by 25 per cent., due, we think, to petrol rationing, and will he do something about that?

Mr. Renton

I am at the moment attempting to answer questions about Wales, but I would say that most holiday places are at present affected by petrol rationing.

15. Mr. Hunter

asked the Paymaster-General whether, in view of the approach of summer holidays, he is yet in a position to give an approximate date for the ending of petrol rationing.

18. Mr. Gower

asked the Paymaster-General if he will make a statement on the latest position regarding petrol rationing.

20. Mr. Ernest Davies

asked the Paymaster-General if he will now announce the date for the termination of petrol rationing.

Mr. Renton

I cannot at present add to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Paymaster-General to similar Questions on 6th May.

Mr. Hunter

I am certain that the country will be disappointed at the stonewalling Answers of the Minister. Would he not agree that the public should be given some information as to when petrol rationing is to end? It is causing concern to industry, to seaside resorts, and to those who are planning holidays.

Mr. Renton

My noble Friend is keen to end petrol rationing, and will do so at the right moment.

Mr. Gower

Is my hon. and learned Friend able to say how long the House will have to wait before we can have a fairly clear statement on the subject one way or the other?

Mr. Renton

As I have just said, a decision will be given at the right moment.

Mr. Ernest Davies

But when will that right moment be? Will it be at the end of Questions today? What is the point of keeping the House and the country in suspense? Why is this meaningless formality of coupon collection being continued at the present time, when it is a fact that very large numbers of motorists are ignoring rationing—and so are a large number of garages—in the knowledge that rationing will shortly end? What is the point of continuing it?

Mr. Renton

No, Sir, petrol rationing is not "a meaningless formality", as is shown by the fact that up to 2nd May a saving of no less than 11 per cent. compared with the estimated normal consumption was achieved. Petrol rationing has, indeed, been achieving its purpose.

19. Mr. Collins

asked the Paymaster-General what reply he has sent to the letter addressed to him by the United Commercial Travellers' Association regarding supplementary petrol allowance in the second rationing period.

Mr. Renton

I have written to the hon. Member.

Mr. Collins

Is the Minister aware that many motorists whose need has been proved have not yet received their supplementary coupons for the second ration period? If this farce must continue, will the Minister allocate immediately a supplementary ration with the same 50 per cent. increase as has been given on the basic ration, because the savings he mentioned in reply to an earlier Question have been made out of hard-working people who attempt to obey the law and not out of "spivs" who take advantage of it?

Mr. Renton

As I think the hon. Gentleman knows, all regional petroleum officers have been asked to give special consideration to those dependent on their cars for earning their living. If the hon. Gentleman has any cases of hardship in mind, perhaps he will be so good as to let me have details of them.

Mr. D. Jones

Is the Minister aware that I have recently sent to his Department particulars of two cases of commercial travellers who, even with the generous treatment given, can still make only 75 per cent, of their normal calls? Why does his Department continue to deprive these people of earning their living?

Mr. Renton

I could not answer that without notice, but I will certainly look into the two cases to which the hon. Gentleman refers.

Mr. Ede

Is the Minister aware that there is a very considerable feeling among commercial travellers on the North-East Coast that they have not received as much attention as their colleagues in other parts of the country?