HC Deb 26 July 1974 vol 877 cc2027-8

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Mulley

This is another clause inserted in the other place which we see considerable difficulty in implementing.

It has been discussed on a number of occasions. Although I am happy with the safeguards about heavy goods vehicles and although an apprentice scheme has been worked out—and provided that the scheme is enforced rigorously by both sides concerned it will work—it is not possible to have an apprentice scheme in respect of public service vehicles so that drivers can graduate from one vehicle to another.

There have been no real consultations between the operators and the unions, but there is no strong evidence of the operators wanting this change except in one or two rather exceptional circumstances. Having regard to the enormous responsibility attached to driving a public service vehicle with a large number of passengers, the Government do not feel that it would be right to make this change.

Mr. Fox

I intervene only to point out to my hon. Friends that this was a clause in the Bill introduced by the previous administration. We always felt that Clause 15 was far more important. The industry was under considerable pressure because of the shortage of drivers. But this is not the case with buses. It is clear from our consultations that there is no great demand for the age to be reduced from 21 to 18. For those reasons, I support what the Minister said.

Question put and negatived.

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