HC Deb 04 December 1963 vol 685 cc1138-9
25. Mr. Dempsey

asked the Minister of Transport how many persons are on the waiting list for driving tests; what is the longest waiting period for applicants; and if he will recruit more driving-test examiners in order to reduce the waiting; period.

Mr. Marples

There are 388,450 persons on the waiting list. The average waiting period is 10–11 weeks and the longest waiting period is 16 weeks, at certain centres in the Metropolitan area. Arrangements have been made to recruit additional examiners for that area.

Mr. Dempsey

Does not the Minister consider that it indicates an undue delay when so many people are waiting for a driving examination? Has he thought of making the conditions for examiners more attractive so that additional officers might be recruited in order to minimise the delay?

Mr. Marples

It is not a question of making their conditions more attractive but of being able to recruit men who are well qualified to do this rather difficult job. They have to attain a standard of skill which we cannot go below. Another difficulty is that a number of people make appointments to take driving tests and do not keep them.

Sir J. Eden

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this is a very serious problem in the Bournemouth area? Does not it indicate a welcome increase in the standard of living that there should be such a large demand for driving instruction?

Mr. Marples

I agree that Bournemouth is a special district and I have written to my hon. Friend on the subject. I agree that the affluent society is something of which we have no need to be ashamed.