HC Deb 08 April 1964 vol 692 cc990-1
2. Mr. Ridley

asked the Minister of Transport if he will take steps to improve rural bus services following the publication of the rural transport surveys he has had carried out.

Mr. Marples

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave on 11th March to my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Speir).

Mr. Ridley

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many rural bus proprietors are literally hanging on in extremely unfavourable financial circumstances waiting for him to do something? While we welcome his surveys and experiments in different parts of the country, is he aware that what is needed is action, and will he give a pledge that as soon as possible he will bring in a scheme, in case the whole system of rural transport collapses?

Mr. Marples

That is precisely what we are doing in six selected areas. Man remedies have been suggested. The surveys made last year gave us the facts of the problem but not the remedy, and no convincing case has been made out for any particular remedy which might be applied generally. For that reason we decided that we must have practical experience on the ground before assessing the situation, and we are doing that.

Mr. Strauss

In view of the fact that the Jack Committee reported fully on this matter three years ago, is not the right hon. Gentleman being unusually slow in coming to a decision on the important matter of rural bus services?

Mr. Marples

The difficulty here is to find the right answer, and even the members of the Jack Committee were not unanimous