HC Deb 30 March 1960 vol 620 cc1307-8
15. Mr. Benn

asked the Minister of Transport by what date he expects that the compulsory inspection of old vehicles will become law.

Mr. Marples

I have nothing at present to add to the information I gave on 23rd March in reply to a similar Question by the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss).

Mr. Benn

The right hon. Gentleman says that he has nothing to add. Is he aware that that is exactly what we are complaining about? Does he appreciate that four years have gone by since the recommendation was made, and that his Department should have been able to overcome the legal difficulties in that time? We are asking him now to say when he expects the new regulations will become law.

Mr. Marples

I said seven days ago that the drafting of the regulations was proceeding urgently and that I would report again to the House at the earliest possible moment, and I think it will be a question of weeks only.

Mr. Bence

Will the right hon. Gentleman have an inquiry made into the braking capacity of not only old cars but modern cars, and will he also inquire into the safety glass which is installed in some of the older cars and modern cars, because the prevalence of windscreen shattering in both old and modern cars is terrible?

Mr. Marples

The hon. Gentleman has a Question on the Order Paper about glass, and perhaps we may leave the subject until we reach that Question. With regard to braking, I agree that modern cars as well as old cars should be tested. However, we must take first things first, and what we want to test first of all are the cars which are more than ten years old. I must confess to the House that I had my own car tested and it did not comply with the braking requirements, and so I had the brakes altered.

Mr. Strauss

The right hon. Gentleman referred in a recent speech to the four years' wrangling which has caused this delay. Does he not agree that if the Government had accepted the proposal that we put forward that the testing stations should be run either by the State or by municipal authorities there would not have been four years' wrangling?

Mr. Marples

I have never made a speech suggesting that there have been four years' wrangling. Therefore, the assumption on which the right hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is based is wholly erroneous.