HC Deb 24 February 1970 vol 796 cc978-9
32. Mr. Ward

asked the Minister of Transport what estimate he has made of the cost to the National Bus Company of the changes in drivers' hours arising from the Transport Act, 1968; what is his estimate of the effect which increases in costs will have on fares or the level of service; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mulley

It is not possible to make such estimates because the effects of these changes are linked with many other factors. But I am satisfied, after full consultation with those concerned, that my proposals for implementing the new drivers' hours requirements strike a fair balance, taking into account both the interests of the drivers and those of the travelling public.

Mr. Ward

What representations has the Minister received from the National Bus Company about the proposed changes?

Mr. Mulley

It is not a matter of representations. I personally and my officials have had many lengthy meetings with all operators and representatives of the trade unions. I can tell the House simply that neither side is satisfied with what I have done, so I have probably got the balance right.

Mr. Michael Heseltine

Is the Minister satisfied that the directives which he has given to the National Bus Company will take into account the increases in costs arising from the drivers' hours changes?

Mr. Mulley

This, of course, was one of the factors which I had very much in mind in setting a financial target for the National Bus Company and why I could set it only for one year and not for a longer period. I want to know how this will work out.