§ Mrs. Chalker
Much progress has been made in our discussions with Lloyd's Register of Shipping. There are still a number of issues to be resolved and detailed discussions are continuing on such matters as the conditions for occupation of the test stations by LRVTA, terms and conditions of employment for staff, and arrangements for LRVTA's relationship with the Department after transfer.
§ Mr. Booth
Does the Under-Secretary of State recall that when what is now the Transport Act 1982 was passing through the House hon. Members who objected to the proposal to transfer HGV testing stations to the private sector were given increasingly firm assurances that the 257 passing of the Bill would enable the transfer to be made, virtually immediately, to Lloyd's? As the gravest doubts are cast on those assurances by the hon. Lady's answer to me, may we have a categorical assurance that if this transfer is not successfully negotiated there will be no transfer of the HGV testing to the private sector, and that in no circumstances will HGV testing be broken up and handed over to a series of private firms?
§ Mrs. Chalker
I remind the House that I never expected the transfer to proceed immediately. The Act that permits the transfer received Royal Assent only a few weeks ago. Discussions are continuing well towards agreement. I hope that agreement will be reached, because the Government's declared aim has been to transfer all 91 stations together. At present we are not considering any other solution.