HC Deb 30 June 1964 vol 697 cc1113-4
4. Mr. Costain

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the abolition of all national bank holidays and the substitution for them of agreed local holiday arrangements between employers and trade unions would be a factor in limiting the increase in road deaths at times of public holidays; and if he will open negotiations with both sides of industry with a view to such arrangements.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Maurice Macmillan)

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave in response to a similar Question on 2nd June.

Mr. Costain

I appreciate the Prime Minister's desire to ensure that people have communal holidays, but would not my hon. Friend convey to his right hon. Friend the fact that the peak loads on the roads are causing a serious number of accidents, and is he satisfied that in these circumstances people enjoy the best benefits of the seaside when they arrive there? Would he not agree that the best way to make our nation most efficient is to avoid peak loads? Would not this procedure help to avoid peak loads?

Mr. Macmillan

As my right hon. Friend explained, quite a part of the peak load problem is due to the adding of the August and, to some extent, Whitsun bank holidays to the normal holiday period. In my right hon. Friend's Answer he explained about the experiment which is to be carried out next year, but I will certainly convey my hon. Friend's suggestion to him.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Would my hon. Friend also consider that bank holidays were introduced when holidays were few and far between and that we have now really got past that stage, and that there is absolutely no doubt that the crowding of roads has a direct ratio to accidents and, therefore, there is a strong case for spreading holidays throughout a longer period?

Mr. Macmillan

These are among the considerations which will be taken into account when the experiment and its results are considered.

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