HL Deb 23 October 1968 vol 296 cc1510-2

[No. 78]

Clause 95, page 126, line 15, at enc insert "Provided that he may drive an extra hour on not more than two days in a working week."

The Commons disagreed to this Amendment but proposed the following Amendment in lieu:

[No. 79]

Page 129, line 30, at end insert "either generally or with such exceptions as may be specified in the order"

4.5 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth not insist on its Amendment No. 78 to which the Commons have disagreed. I am, however, moving Amendment No. 79 in lieu. The effect of the Amendment which was carried in this House on Report would be to allow a driver to be at the wheel for 11 hours for two days a week during stage 1 of the new rules, which fix a normal maximum driving period of 10 hours. In stage 2 it would permit 10 hours driving on two days a week, while the normal maximum is reduced to nine hours.

In effect, my Lords, what we are proposing here is that the Amendment should not be applied to stage 1. but virtually we accept the argument of noble Lords on stage 2. As I explained when we considered this matter before, had we accepted the arguments on stage 1 it would have meant that long-distance lorry drivers who are not concerned with loading and unloading would be trying to achieve 11 hours actual driving a day, which really is quite unacceptable. The objections which we had to the application of this Amendment to stage 1 do not arise on stage 2, because there is not a target date at this stage, and there will be an opportunity of discussing the matter again when the necessary Affirmative Resolution Order is laid. I hope, therefore, that the noble Lords will accept the Motion, and that then they will be able to accept Amendment No. 79 in lieu.

Moved, That this House doth not insist on its Amendment No. 78 to which the Commons have disagreed, and agrees with the Commons in their Amendment No. 79 in lieu.—(Lord Beswick.)


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, for explaining to us the purpose of the Government's Amendment and the Reason for disagreeing with ours. The additional hour two days a week is not overall—it is still within the 60 hours limit which the Bill lays down—and I still feel that in order to give flexibility to allow the extra hour on two days a week, and therefore on other days of the week less, would have been wise when introducing a new measure, when we have heard from many sources that there is a great deal of anxiety about the possible effects.

However, I recognise that the Amendment which the Government have put down and which has been approved in another place gives this desirable flexibility at the second stage. I would urge that the second stage really should not be contemplated until we have had a good deal of experience of the first stage, because, if even a fraction of the apprehensions of industry and commerce are justified, it is going to take quite a long time to digest the first stage. But perhaps it is something that our Amendment has been recognised, in principle, to be valuable, and to that extent the Government have agreed. I think we must be thankful for small mercies, and for those reasons we do not disagree with the Government's Amendment.

On Question, Motion agreed to.