HC Deb 26 November 1964 vol 702 c1457
22. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will make an estimate of the implications of the increased duty on petrol and diesel fuels on regional economic development.

Mr. Crosland

No, Sir. It is not possible to make a generalised estimate of this sort.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that this tax is bound to increase disproportionately the freight costs of firms such as those in eastern Scotland situated a considerable distance from their markets? Is not this, therefore, bound to accentuate the problems of depopulation and unemployment in those areas?

Mr. Crosland

No, Sir. We do not think that this measure will have this disproportionate effect which the hon. Member suggests. It will have disagreeable effects in certain regions, particularly in connection with bus fares, but that is a point on which discussion is proceeding between the Ministry of Transport and the various bus interests affected.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that increased transport costs place the heaviest burden on the areas which are most remote from their own markets?

Mr. Crosland

Increased transport costs place a burden on everyone. It is a very disagreeable thing to do this, but we inherited a very disagreeable situation.