HC Deb 28 January 1959 vol 598 cc1065-6
43. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will outline the principles which govern the granting of priority to certain people in taking the driving test.

Mr. Watkinson

There is no general system of priorities. Each candidate is given the earliest available appointment on the days of the week he says he prefers. Where, however, vacancies arise through cancellations, priority is given to candidates whose tests have had to be postponed, and to those who have made a request for an early test.

Mr. Hamilton

Has the Minister seen the report in Reynolds News of 18th January—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]

Mrs. Slater

A very good newspaper.

Mr. Hamilton

Yes—stating that a certain individual in Kettering was given priority? Will he give an undertaking that this kind of thing will cease? Also, can he explain why the Government should pander to individuals like Terry Dene and Prince William?

Mr. Watkinson

I am not a regular reader of Reynolds News, I am afraid, but to deal with the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, I have only recently been considering the whole scope of driving tests. A great number of hon. Members are interested in them at the moment. I am quite satisfied that absolute fairness is shown to every applicant.

50. Sir W. Anstruther-Gray

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will now state the result of the steps he has taken to reduce delay before applicants for driving tests are allotted a date for testing.

Mr. Nugent

The staff of examiners has been increased by 48 and a further 21 are expected to take up duty shortly. We have also made arrangements to recruit 200 more examiners in the coming months. Meantime, despite recent loss of testing time through winter weather, the number of candidates waiting for tests has been reduced.

Sir W. Anstruther-Gray

How long does my hon. Friend estimate that the delay will be in future before a test is granted to an applicant?

Mr. Nugent

Our intention is to reduce the waiting period progressively in the coming months, until we can bring it down to an average of three or four weeks.

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