§ 6 and 7. Mr. Higgins
asked the Minister of Labour (1) whether he will make Her Majesty's Government's decision to approve an increase in busmen's pay at the end of the pay standstill conditional on the ending of the restrictive trade practice whereby standing passengers are prohibited outside rush hours;
(2) whether he will make Her Majesty's Government's decision to approve an increase in busmen's pay at the end of the pay standstill conditional on the ending of the restrictive trade practice whereby the number of standing passengers is restricted in the rush hours and its replacement by a limit 50 per cent. higher than that at present imposed.
§ Mr. Gunter
The overall limits on standing passengers in buses are laid down in regulations made by the Minister of Transport, in the interests of safety. Any amendment of these regulations would be a matter for my right hon. Friend. Within the limits imposed by the regulations, any restrictions on the number of standing passengers are settled by employers and workers. I have no power to impose conditions of the kind suggested. Meetings have already been held with both sides of the National Joint Councils which cover the operation of buses, and they have undertaken to 8 consider ways of improving the use of labour which have been suggested by the National Board for Prices and Incomes.
§ Mr. Higgins
Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that that answer cannot possibly cover the first Question, because it is concerned with no standing passengers, whereas they are allowed during the rush hours? If the number of standing passengers in the rush hours were increased, it would be possible significantly to reduce the number of buses and the number of bus crews required. This depends on the peak load which the bus service has to meet.
§ Mr. Gunter
I have no doubt that the number of passengers carried would be increased if the number of standing passengers were increased, but I have no power to enforce that.