HC Deb 28 May 1968 vol 765 cc1665-7


Mr. Carmichael

I beg to move Amendment No. 218, in page 84, line 1, to leave out 'all or any' and insert ' either or both '.

Mr. Speaker

We are taking at the same time Amendments No. 219, page 84, line 11, leave out paragraph (c).

No. 220, page 84, line 14, at end insert: ' but this condition shall only be applied if the applicant so requests'.

No. 238, page 88, leave out lines 6 to 9.

No. 240, page 89, line 36, leave out from 'section' to end of line 40.

No. 241, page 89, line 45, leave out from 'direct' to ' that' in line 2 on page 90.

No. 311, page 109, line 45, leave out from 'which' to end of line 5 on page 110 and insert: goods are to be treated for the purposes of this Part of this Act as carried for hire or reward and the circumstances in which goods are to be treated for those purposes as carried by any person for or in connection with a trade or business carried on by him ".

Mr. Carmichael

This group of Amendments arises from the undertaking given in Committee by the Minister of State to consider again whether the vestigial distinction between hire and reward and own-account operation could be dropped. Upon reconsideration, Ministers have decided that this step should be taken. As the Minister of State explained in Committee, the intention all along has been that the power to limit an operator's licence to own-account carriage should be used only on safety grounds—for example, where the licensing authority thought that an operator's background was such that to allow him to engage in public haulage might endanger the financial resources available to him and hence prejudice the provision of adequate maintenance for the vehicles. But the Bill already provides adequate sanctions against this kind of behaviour. Under Clause 65, one or more vehicles can be suspended from an operator's licence as a disciplinary measure, or the whole licence can be suspended or even revoked altogether. The power to limit licences to own-account operation adds little or nothing to these powers whilst presenting a possible enforcement problem.

Amendment No. 219 is the main Amendment in the group. It deletes the power in Clause 60(4)(c) for a licensing authority to grant an operator's licence subject to the limitation that it authorises only the carriage of goods on own-account. It was also proposed independently by the Opposition.

Amendment No. 218 is a paving Amendment in Clause 60(4). With the removal of paragraph (c) there are only two limitations or modifications which a licensing authority may impose in granting a licence.

Amendment No. 238 is consequential. It removes the provision that a licence may be varied by the imposition or removal of a limitation to own-account work.

Amendments Nos. 240 and 241 are also consequential. They remove references in Clause 65 to the contravention of a limitation to own-account work and to the power of a licensing authority to impose such a limitation as a disciplinary measure.

Mr. G. Campbell

We on this side of the House are glad that the Government have, on consideration, agreed to meet the proposal which we made about this in Committee, and to remove the distinction which there was in the Bill between those who were carrying goods for hire and reward and those who were carrying their own goods on their own account. The Minister's speech was not very inspiring in saying all this, but its content was none the less acceptable.

We think it is important that in this Bill there should be no suggestion that a carrier who is carrying his own goods as part of his own business should in any way be a second-class carrier. The whole purpose of the Bill is to do away with the C licence and to ensure that vehicles which pass the quality licensing tests can carry goods for hire and reward, as well as vehicles of the road haulage industry. Therefore, we are glad that the Government have accepted this point and we hope that they will adhere to it in other parts of the Bill, because if operators under the Bill satisfy the quality licensing requirements in this Part of the Bill they should be able to do both jobs, both carriage for hire and reward and the carriage of own-account goods. We, therefore, welcome the Government's considered views and their change of mind on this point.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: No. 219, in page 84, line 11, leave out paragraph (c).—[Mr. Carmichael.]

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