HC Deb 21 November 1962 vol 667 cc1212-3
30. Mr. Strauss

asked the Minister of Transport what action he proposes to take on the recommendations of the Rochdale Report.

Mr. Marples

The Government have asked the national representative bodies concerned for their views on the Committee's main recommendations. When I have received and fully considered those views I will make a statement.

Mr. Strauss

Can the Minister give any idea about the timetable—how long it will be before he can tell the House what he proposes to do, and whether it will be in the form of a White Paper or some such document?

Mr. Marples

Quite frankly. I do not know yet. I am waiting for these considered reports from the interested parties concerned, but I can promise the right hon. Gentleman that there will be no undue delay. This Committee was appointed to do a job of work. It did that efficiently in a short time and I hope to receive these representations by the end of the month. I can assure the House that it is my earnest desire to move ahead quickly with modernising our ports.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

While appreciating that the Report was mainly directed to the major ports and harbours, may I ask my right hon. Friend to give an assurance that before he finally comes to a conclusion he will allow the points of view of the smaller port authorities to be considered as well?

Mr. Marples

Certainly, and when I have received the representations from the major bodies I propose to ask individual port authorities to give me their views on the Rochdale Report.

Mr. Popplewell

In the meantime, while the Minister is awaiting this information, what attitude will he take about the Docks and Harbour Board? Will he continue to establish that Board or will he wait until he reaches his decision on the Rochdale Committee's Report?

Mr. Marples

I think that the whole thing should be treated comprehensively. I hope to finalise the Government's views on what we should do with the docks as a whole and present them to the House.

40. Mr. Webster

asked the Minister of Transport what steps he proposes to take to implement the urgent recommendation of the Rochdale Committee that information should be collected to assist the proposed National Ports Authority to act efficiently.

Mr. Marples

My Department is examining what additional statistics the managements and users of ports should be asked to supply. This additional paper work will mean some trouble and expense and I want to be sure that my demands for more statistics are carefully thought out.

Mr. Webster

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this is a most urgent recommendation by the Rochdale Committee and that it is to be hoped that, although this will be dealt with urgently, the plan followed will be a long-term plan and not a crash programme?

Mr. Marples

I quite agree. I am certain that the ports, docks and harbours of the country ought to be looked at in the long term and should be dealt with comprehensively.

Sir C. Osborne

Will my right hon. Friend give a pledge that the interests of the smaller ports will not be forgotten when he makes his major plan?

Mr. Marples

Yes, Sir.

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