HC Deb 15 November 1979 vol 973 cc1484-5
8. Mr. Bendall

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why it is necessary to have meters used in London taxicabs sealed by both the British Standards Institute and the Carriage Office.

Mr. Raison

Because two different processes are involved. The British Standards Institute tests and seals the meter itself. The Public Carriage Office tests the meter on the cab and seals it in place.

Mr. Bendall

In view of the Minister's answer and the time elements and costs involved, can he say, with regard to the new electric meter that is liable to come into operation in the near future, whether it will be subject to an annual test or whether it can be dealt with by the British Standards Institute?

Mr. Raison

I understand that the new electronic meters are unlikely to need such frequent testing, but the precise requirements are a matter for the licensing authority.

Mr. George Cunningham

It may be bad enough for two authorities to be involved, but would it not be much worse if the European Commission were also to get involved in the business of authorising the shape and size of London taxis? Will the Minister of State find some way of notifying to the House the interest of the European Commission in this subject at the moment, and make sure that before the Government do anything there will be full consultation with drivers and owners of London taxis?

Mr. Raison

There is an EEC directive which requires mechanical taxi meters to be both bench-tested and road-tested. There does not seem to me to be anything wrong with that. If there are changes, we shall, of course, consult with the EEC about them.

Mr. Edward Gardner

Will my hon. Friend take steps to see that London cabs all have up-to-date meters, to avoid the use of a computer every time one tries to discover the fare?

Mr. Raison

I have a good deal of sympathy with the point raised by my hon. and learned Friend, but I do not think that it is for me to determine.