HC Deb 08 July 1965 vol 715 cc1802-3
14. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to increase the fines for the illegal parking of caravans on roadside verges and open spaces.

Miss Bacon

Proposals will be made at a suitable opportunity for increases in certain maximum penalties bearing on this matter.

Mrs. Short

May I thank my hon. Friend for that reply? I am glad that the Department is taking this matter up in this way. Will she urge her right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government to find a solution to this problem and to urge local authorities to set up proper sites for these people?

Miss Bacon

This matter involves several Ministries, not only the Ministry of Housing and Local Government but also the Minister of Transport, who has already said that he intends at a suitable opportunity to seek an increase in the penalties in the Highways Act.

Mr. Longden

These several Ministries have been investigating this question for at least two years, since it was first raised by me. Is the hon. Lady aware that the immense time and trouble which is taken by the police to bring these people to book is quite useless, because they find it much cheaper to pay these fines than to pay rates and taxes?

Miss Bacon

Yes. I realise that this is a very difficult problem and that, strictly speaking, it is not solely a problem for my right hon. Friend. The various Ministers concerned are determined to do something to try to make the position better.

Mr. Jopling

When the hon. Lady is looking into this matter, will she look also into the question of gipsy fairs, which cause appalling chaos in some parts of the country, certainly in my constituency, when several dozen of these people descend on a district for periods up to a fortnight?

Miss Bacon

Yes, this is another problem entirely, and principally one for the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and under the Public Health Act.