HC Deb 09 June 1976 vol 912 cc1417-8
6. Mr. Adam Hunter

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representation he has had in the form of submissions on the transport consultative document regarding the function of the traffic commissioners at public hearings; and if he will make a statement.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Frank McElhone)

I have had no such representations. A statement on transport policy will be made later in the year.

Mr. Hunter

Is my hon. Friend aware that the provision that gives the right of objection at traffic commissioners' hearings does not include the people who are most adversely affected by cuts in bus services—the users themselves? Does he agree that it is not enough that merely councillors, politicians and Members of Parliament, particularly, should be allowed to make only a brief statement? Should it not be possible for bus company witnesses to be questioned by bus users, particularly where their services are undergoing cuts?

Finally, does my hon. Friend not agree that to employ solicitors and other spokesmen for certain groups of bus users is a very costly business? Would it not be a more effective and democratic way of proceeding if those people were allowed to have greater active involvement— [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. I know that it is a long time since I called the hon. Member for Dunfermline (Mr. Hunter).

Mr. McElhone

My hon. Friend keeps a close watch on all the problems in Dunfermline and the surrounding areas. I understand and share some of the concern expressed by my hon. Friend in this case. The solicitor who represented his constituents has complained to the Minister of Transport, but these are matters for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, and I have to advise my hon. Friend to raise the matter with him.