HC Deb 26 October 1967 vol 751 cc1873-4
31. Mr. Arnold Shaw

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made with the independent committee of inquiry into the taxicab and private hire car services in London.

7. Mr. Berry

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the independent committee charged with the task of inquiring into the operation, structure and economy of the taxicab and private hire car trades in London to make its report.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

Mr. Maxwell Stamp has accepted an invitation to be Chairman, and seven other members, whose names I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT, have agreed to serve. I will also circulate the terms of reference. It is too early to say when the Committee may be expected to report.

Mr. Shaw

Will my right hon. Friend agree that this will give a good deal of satisfaction to the trade? At the same time, does he appreciate that, with the constant delays that have gone on in the past, there has been a good deal of lack of confidence in the intentions of the Government? May we hope that on this occasion the report will be an early one?

Mr. Jenkins

I certainly want the Committee to do a thorough job. I regret that it has taken as long as it has to set it up, but I thought that it was highly desirable to get a good Committee to do this important task. I will impress upon the Committee the need, compatible with its doing a thorough job, for speed.

Sir T. Beamish

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of a growing tendency for taxis to cruise with "for hire" lit up and the flag up and to refuse to stop when hailed, which causes distress to visitors to this country? Will he look into the matter?

Mr. Jenkins

Yes, Sir; this will be looked into.

Mr. Lubbock

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that on 9th June it was stated by the Minister of State that he intended to proceed at once to the appointment of this Committee and that it has caused a great deal of resentment among taxi drivers that the right hon. Gentleman is only just setting the Committee to work? Can he say when the Committee will first meet, and also how representations can be made to it by the taxi drivers who are so concerned about their livelihood?

Mr. Jenkins

I have already expressed the view that I wish it had been possible to set up the Committee earlier. But it is now there, and I am sure it is a good Committee and will do its job. It will be glad to receive evidence from the taxi drivers, but it is a matter for the Committee as to precisely when it meets and how it will receive this other evidence. There is no reason why certain legislation in this field should be held up pending the Report of the Committee.

Following are the terms of reference of the Departmental Committee on the London Taxicab Trade: To inquire into the operation, structure and economy of the taxi-cab and private hire car trades in London; to consider the respective roles of the two services in the carriage of passengers in London and the statutory controls needed for their safe and efficient performance; and to make recommendations.

The seven Members of the Committee are: