HC Deb 29 April 1981 vol 3 cc776-7
10. Mr. Marland

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he is satisfied with the level of interest in car-sharing schemes.

Mr. Fowler

The level of public interest in car-sharing and car-pooling schemes is encouraging, although I believe that there is still considerable scope for increased use of such arrangements. I hope that more people will take advantage of the opportunities presented by the Transport Act 1980.

Mr. Marland

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied with the amount of co-operation he has received from the insurance companies? I understand that in the past they have not been enthusiastic about the introduction of this scheme.

Mr. Fowler

The insurance companies have co-operated fully with the scheme. There is no problem in that regard. That message should also go out to those who wish to take part in car-pooling arrangements.

Mr. Bidwell

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that this scheme is largely a will-o'-the-wisp compared with the necessity for better publicly supported bus services throughout the country? If the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues are so enthusiastic about car-sharing, why do so many Tory Members arrive at the House sitting on their own in the corner of a big motor car and why do Ministers have one car apiece?

Mr. Fowler

I do not know. The hon. Gentleman will have to carry out a survey outside the entrance of the House of Commons to see whether there is any difference, but I suspect not. Most of the big cars that I have seen have been owned by Opposition Members. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will agree that the aim of car-sharing is sensible. It was something which the Labour Government supported.

Mr. Dormand

Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that it would be better to encourage people to buy bicycles? Does he recall telling the House on two occasions that the Green Paper on cycling would be published "soon"? However, "soon" is now 12 months ago. By the same token, does he recall promising to send me £1 to join the all-party friends of cycling group, and I have not yet received it?

Mr. Fowler

On the second point, I apologise to the hon. Gentleman for my delay. It is very difficult to get money out of me. I am glad to tell him that I have the letter and the money for him in my room, as I understood only too well that he would be here today. With regard to the cycling policy document, I hope that that document will be published in the middle of next month.