§ 14. Mr. Simon Coombs
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what were the total number of rental and leased cars in (a) 1987 and (b) 1986.
§ Mr. Atkins
Estimates by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association suggest that the population of rental and leasing cars was more than a million in 1987, a substantial rise on the figure of 889,000 in 1986.
§ Mr. Coombs
Does my hon. Friend agree that that answer reflects the wider success of the car industry, which recorded an 8 per cent. growth in new car sales in the last financial year? Will he join me in congratulating fleet hire companies such as PHH in my constituency on their contribution to cost-effective vehicle use in British industry?
§ Mr. Atkins
I am delighted to associate myself with my hon. Friend's compliment to PHH. Firms such as PHH, which is one of the market leaders, are rightly well-regarded for the service that they provide and for their contribution to small and large company profitability. My hon. Friend is right in his assessment of the figures, they are yet another indication of the success of the Government's economic policies.
§ Mr. Foulkes
Is the Minister aware that one or two of these cars are almost certainly rented or leased by employees at the Girvan factory of Rowntree-Mackintosh in my constituency? I share the view that the proposed takeover of that company should be referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. As so many hon. Members on both sides of the House are saying that, surely the Minister must be getting the message.