HC Deb 16 December 1970 vol 808 cc1343-4
38. Mr. Arthur Jones

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration has been given to the proposal that the licence granted to private car owners should permit the use of the vehicle for private hire purposes with a view to the supplementation of public transport facilities and a more effective use of economic resources, including road space.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

We are examining the public service vehicle licensing system generally, including its relevance to small vehicles.

Mr. Jones

Will not my hon. Friend agree that schemes of protection for public services are completely outdated in present-day circumstances, and although we have had a number of reviews of rural services—we have had three of them—has not the time come to stop reviewing and come to some decision?

Mr. Griffiths

I am well aware of the problem to which my hon. Friend refers, and that is precisely why we are looking very carefully at the whole licensing system in order to find out whether it is flexible enough, particularly in the rural areas. My right hon. Friend certainly intends to make some progress in the matter.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Is not the hon. Gentleman also aware of the very serious abuses of private hire schemes, and the need to pay attention to the Bill being promoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Wallsend (Mr. Garrett) for greater control?

Mr. Griffiths

If the hon. Member has examples of abuses, I am sure that he will do his best to put them forward precisely.