HL Deb 19 June 1980 vol 410 cc1218-37

3.48 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(Lord Bellwin.)

On Question, Bill read 3a with the amendments.

Clause 15 [Exemption from duty to cooperate in trial areas]:

Lord BELLWIN moved Amendment No. 1: Leave out Clause 15 and insert the following new clause:

"Relaxation in trial areas of operators' duties to co-operate and exchange information

(.—(1) Subject to subsection (3) the duties of public passenger transport operators under the provisions mentioned in subsection (2), being duties to co-operate with and afford information to one another, shall not apply in relation to a service so far as it is provided within a trial area.

(2) The provisions referred to in subsection (1) are—

  1. (a) section 24(2) and (3) of the Transport Act 1968 (services in passenger transport areas);
  2. (b) section 1(1)(c) of the Transport Act 1978 (services in England and Wales outside passenger transport areas); and
  3. (c) section 151(1)(b) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (services in Scotland outside passenger transport areas).

(3) Subsection (1) shall not affect the duties of public passenger transport operators to co-operate with or afford information to—

  1. (a) a Passenger Transport Executive;
  2. (b) a county council; or
  3. (c) a regional or islands council,
for the purpose of the discharge by any such Executive or council of its function of coordinating passenger transport services.

(4) In this section "public passenger transport operators" means persons providing public passenger transport services within the meaning of section 1(2) of the Transport Act 1978.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 1. The new clause which I accepted at Report stage and which now appears as Clause 15 in the Bill was found by my advisers to be imprecise in a number of respects. The clause which I now put forward as a replacement, while not attempting in any way to change the substance of the existing clause, clarifies a number of points which I shall explain for the benefit of the House.

First, the clause makes it clear that under existing legislation operators have several duties—not just a single duty—to cooperate and exchange information. Secondly, subsection (1) of the new clause links the duty to co-operate with the provision of a service in a trial area. That essential connecting factor is missing from the Bill at present. Subsection (3) of the new clause recognises the dual function)of county councils and local transport executives, which can be both operators and transport planning authorities, and makes it clear that the clause does not affect the duties of public passenger transport operators to co-operate with or afford information to such bodies when they are acting in their roles of coordinators of passenger transport services.

Subsection (4) of the new clause defines "public passenger transport operators" in order to avoid any possible doubt that "public" refers to the fact that the transport is available to the public, and not to public ownership. I therefore commend this clarified, and I hope useful, version of the clause to the House.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 18 [Power to prohibit driving of unfit public service vehicles]:

Lord BELLWIN moved Amendments Nos. 2, 3 and 4:

Page 17, leave out lines 18 to 20 and insert— ("( ) If the person to whom written notice of a prohibition is given under subsection (3) as being the person in charge of the vehicle at the time of the inspection is not—

  1. (a) the operator of the vehicle; or
  2. (b) if there is no operator at that time, the owner of the vehicle,
the officer or examiner shall as soon as practicable take steps to bring the contents of the notice to the attention of the said operator or owner.").

Clause 22 [Conditions attached to licences]:

Page 21, line 39, at end insert— ("( ) It is hereby declared that the conditions attached under subsection (1) to a PSV operator's licence granted by the traffic commissioners for any area do not affect the use by the holder of the licence of a vehicle—

  1. (a) under a PSV operator's licence granted to him by the traffic commissioners for another area; or
  2. (b) in circumstances such that another person falls to be treated as the operator of the vehicle (for example, by virtue of regulations under section 44(2)(a)).").

Clause 23 [Revocation, suspension, etc. of licences.]: Page 22, line 23, after ("owned") insert ("or operated").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, for the convenience of the House I should also like to speak to Amendments Nos. 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 and 12. When the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, moved his amendment to what was Clause 17 on Report, I said that the points he had made were sufficiently interesting for me to be able to promise that we would look again at the phraseology of this particular provision. We have done so, and for good measure we have also looked at that of other clauses where a similar point, which I know has worried the Confederation of British Road Passenger Transport, has arisen.

The point is that bus and coach operators frequently hire vehicles from each other for very short periods, either as a part of their normal mutual assistance when, for instance, there is a breakdown, or to enable an occasional large contract to be fulfilled by someone whose own fleet of vehicles is insufficient. Often, of course, the vehicle will be hired with the driver and then, under the Bill, the person for whom the driver works will remain the operator. But not infrequently the person who hires the vehicle will provide the driver, and, under the Bill as it now stands, he would become its operator and would have to put his disc on it. The CPT has pointed out that this is unrealistic, that the hirer-out will remain responsible for the maintenance of the vehicle and that it will count against the maximum number of vehicles permitted to him under Clause 21.

These amendments are designed to meet this point, and will ensure that vehicles hired in such circumstances will remain the responsibility of their regular operator and will not count against the maximum number of vehicles allowed to the person who hires them in.

The regulations made under Clause 44 will define the type of hiring arrangements that are covered by the new provision. It will be only temporary hiring, not more permanent leasing arrangements, and it will be only hirings between two operators' licence-holders. There will be no loophole here which unauthorised people could exploit.

The amendment to Clause 18 ensures that the prohibition on the vehicle is brought to the attention of the operator—that is, the person whose disc is on the vehicle, or, if there is no operator (for instance, if the vehicle is not in use at the time and has no disc on it), then to its owner. The amendment to Clause 22 puts beyond doubt that a vehicle hired under these arrangements will not count against the maximum number of vehicles permitted to the hirer-in. The amendment to Clause 23 makes possible a prohibition notice on a vehicle operated by, as well as owned by, a licence-holder.

Then there are grounds for disciplinary action by the traffic commissioners. I should emphasise that such a notice does not necessarily mean that the commissioners will take action; it is only grounds for their considering it. If the Bill said only "owners", there might be a loophole whereby the person really responsible in the case of a hired vehicle—the one whose disc is on it—avoided the possibility of action against him. It is necessary to retain "owner" as well as "operator" because a vehicle may have no operator at the time it is subject to a prohibition—it may be off the road and have no disc on it. With that explanation, I beg to move these amendments en bloc.


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord the Minister for carrying out the undertaking which he gave at the Report stage which led me to withdraw the amendments in the names of myself and my noble friends, and to say how much we welcome the amendments now before the House.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 32: [Fare-paying passengers on school buses]:

3.55 p.m.

Lord UNDERHILL moved Amendment No. 5: Page 29, line 37, leave out from ("say") to ("sections") in line 38.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, a new clause setting out the additional provisions in relation to school buses was introduced by the Government at the Committee stage. This clause provides that a school bus, when used to provide free school transport, may also carry fare-paying passengers and, in addition, when not being used for school transport, a school bus may be used to provide a local bus service—that is, a normal stage carriage bus service. This latter provision could be during a school day when the bus is not being used to convey school-children, at weekends or during school holidays.

As drafted, the clause removes various safety provisions from both these additional services, and, in order that noble Lords can see the compromise which we seek to make in the amendment, I ought to detail these safety provisions. The provisions which are to be excluded are powers and facilities for inspection of passenger transport vehicles; the need for a school bus as a public service vehicle to have a certificate of initial fitness; the power of a certifying officer or PSV examiner to prohibit driving of an unfit public service vehicle; and the necessity to have a public service vehicle operator's licence. Also to be excluded is the provision of Section 144 of the 1960 Act which makes it necessary for the driver of a PSV to have a PSV driver's licence.

At the Committee stage noble Lords could do no more than speak on the general principle, and your Lordships will recall that the new clause as a whole was approved by a majority of 10 votes. The Report stage provided an opportunity to replace the safety provisions, so that the five points to which I have referred—which I would emphasise apply to every other public ser vice vehicle—would apply to a school bid s when used in accordance with the proposal in the new clause.

The Minister stated that because of facilities that were available to local education authorities, he was not at all deterred by these safety qualifications, but he generously added that perhaps, with the exclusion of the drivers' licensing area into which he would wish to go further, he would like to take the matter away and discuss it with his colleagues. In view of that statement, I accordingly withdrew the amendment in my name and that of my friends in the hope that the Government would find it possible to bring forward an amendment to deal solely with the necessity for there to be a PSV driver's licence in these two cases. It is with very deep regret that I note from the Marshalled List that the Government have not seen fit to table such an amendment. Therefore, I have no alternative but to place before the House Amendments Nos. 5 and 6, for I think I explained that I was speaking to Amendment No. 6 as well as to Amendment No. 5.

I must stress that, reluctantly, these amendments do not refer to four of the safety provisions: rather, only when a school bus is used as proposed in the Bill shall there be a necessity for the driver to have a PSV driver's licence. Perhaps I should explain the purpose of the two amendments. Amendment No. 5 seeks to ensure that this provision shall apply when a school bus is used to convey fare-paying passengers as well as providing free school transport, and also when used to provide a normal local bus service. I see no reason whatever why this provision should not apply in both cases because the vehicle will be conveying passengers. But some noble Lords may take the view, as expressed by the Minister, that school buses have been on the road for some time and that we can therefore dispense with some of these safety provisions.

For that reason Amendment No. 6 has been tabled as a fall-back. Amendment No. 6 deals solely with the position of a school bus when it is used to provide a local bus service, and I emphasise to your Lordships "a local bus service". Whatever may be the argumentsconcerning the need for a public service vehicle driver's licence when a bus is used in connection with free school transport, surely there can be no justification whatever for accepting the view that, because it is a school bus, we can, when it is running as a full local stage bus service, dispense with the safety provision that there should be a PSV driver's licence for the driver. That would be the only public service vehicle classification in the whole country where we would be dispensing with the need to have a PSV driver's licence. I would submit in proposing the second amendment that that would be completely illogical and would make a mockery of the PSV drivers' licence provisions.

Even if your Lordships feel that we should not proceed with Amendment No. 5, which I still believe is logical, at least in the case of Amendment No. 6 there should be a general view expressed by your Lordships that a bus, whether it is a local education authority vehicle or an ordinary bus, must comply with the requirement that there should be a driver with a PSV driver's licence. I therefore wish to move both Amendment No. 5 and Amendment No. 6.


My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, may I ask him why does he not insist on a PSV licence for the children? Why is it safe for an ordinary driver to drive the children, but not for him to drive fare-paying passengers?


My Lords, at the Report stage I indicated that I was sorry that over the years this has not been insisted upon. If you carry Amendment No. 5, then of course this would apply when the vehicle, in addition to being used for school children, is used for fare-paying passengers. It is in the hands of your Lordships whether you wish to carry Amendment No. 5, because that would deal with the situation in Amendment No. 6 as well.

4.2 p.m.


My Lords, I sympathise strongly with the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, when he emphasises the aspect of safety. This matter was discussed before. I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Bellwin, indicated that Lord Underhill had moved his amendment with vigour, and I understood therefore that there was going to be some communication between the noble Lord, Lord Bellwin, and the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, in this matter. Therefore, for the position of clarification for myself as concerned with these Benches, may I ask whether there was any letter, or explanation, on this important matter of safety which was passed to the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, by the department of which the Minister is in charge? If so, I feel that a copy should have come to us.

I have checked on this occasion, and my noble friend Lord Simon has not received a copy. I was reproved at Report stage that perhaps a copy of a letter had gone to my noble friend Lord Simon on another matter, but it had not been sent. These Benches have been totally short-circuited by the Minister over these matters.


I should like to add a note to that. At one time I represented a mountainous area, in some places above 1,000 feet contour, and with country places. One must bear in mind that a school bus—or a post office van is now being used in some of the remote villages in some areas—may be used where they have country lanes with bends and hedgerows and not wide open roads. At harvest time there is the hazard of much agricultural machinery on the roads, plus the huge milk wagons that now go through the country areas of Britain. They all have to be contended with. In those places a driver is driving more than just himself now because he is taking on school children, and in other cases taking on the public. Therefore, having made my point clearly enough without expanding on it, I support my noble friend who has moved this amendment.


My Lords, I hope that the Government will not accept this amendment. We must remember that it is dealing with the employees of a public authority who know their duty to people. They have a good record for their safety. If this extra burden is put on, it is another expense for local authorities. There is the cost of special training, and possibly putting employees' jobs in jeopardy. I would ask your Lordships not to support this amendment where we have a good record of safety on school buses.


My Lords, may I come in again?

Several noble Lords



Of course, it is Third Reading.

4.5 p.m.


My Lords, since we are discussing the two amendments, I should like to speak to both. In the first instance, while I have every sympathy with the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, in Amendment No. 5, he has acknowledged that were it to be passed it would be undoing a situation that has applied perfectly correctly and happily, although it may be regrettable, over a number of years.

So far as the second amendment is concerned, this is where the difference lies. There are essentially two differences. The first is the additional degree of responsibility that may be carried. Here I must disagree with my noble friend who has just spoken, in that while a local authority employee may have a very good record, it is in one field of operation only, and it is a somewhat limited field with a number of self-imposed disciplines applying within the vehicle. That makes a lot of difference.

So far as the cost is concerned, the cost of training for, and attaining, a PSV licence is quite small as compared with that of a heavy goods vehicle driver, where it can run into some hundreds of pounds. Perhaps my noble friend the Minister will explain to us exactly what kind of licence the driver of an education bus, performing the functions he would be allowed to perform within the Bill as it now stands, would need to have. It is of a very low order, my Lords. So we have on the one hand the new situation that a local education authority or local authority driver has to face; one which he has not faced before, and one which I suggest he may not be competent to discharge.

The second point—and I believe that this is perhaps the more important point—is why, because he is engaged by a local authority in the narrow field of school transport, should a driver be exempt from the qualifications which his commercial counterpart has to have when engaged in the same job? This seems to me absolutely wrong. Were my noble friend to accept Lord Underhill's second amendment, it would not undermine the principle of the Bill—that of enlarging the scope in transport—nor would it impose any additional qualification on people already doing the prescribed job.

What it would do, of course, is to impose upon the drivers exactly the same qualifications when they are engaged in the same line of duty. This cannot be argued to be restrictive or as undermining the main principles of the Bill. At this stage my sympathy is with the mover in Amendment No. 6 and not with Amendment No. 5. I hope, therefore, that my noble friend is able to put up rather more cogent arguments than we have heard in the previous two stages, Report and Committee, that may make me change my view on this matter.

Viscount RIDLEY

My Lords, I hope I might be able to support my noble friend Lord Digby. County councils feel strongly that this is a quite unnecessary provision. They are very responsible people. They do not allow people to drive buses without great care being taken to see that the buses are properly maintained, and so forth. I am quite certain that this would be an unnecessary bureaucratic control. As my noble friend has said, the safety record of school buses is a good deal better than that of the public at large.


My Lords, I should like strongly to support my noble friend's amendment. It may well be that school buses have been operated safely for a long time, and I do not doubt that their drivers are very careful. But there has only to be one serious accident, and then it will appear that the public authorities have allowed the drivers of school buses to put children at risk by requiring lower qualifications for their drivers than they do for the general public; that they are risking the lives of children in a way that they would not risk the lives of the general public. That is how it will appear if there should be a serious accident, and one day—who knows?—however long and well they may have driven in the past, that risk remains.

4.10 p.m.


My Lords, I rise briefly to support the view expressed by the noble Lords, Lord Digby and Lord Ridley. Local education authorities in this country are highly responsible bodies and have records of decades of completely safe service in this respect, and nobody ever thought to question the reliability of this service until it arose on the technical point of using these buses outside the school service if a local authority thought it suitable to do so. I believe it would be wrong to think in terms of requiring PSV licences for all school education buses.

Regarding Amendment No. 6, here is an existing service which plies most days of the year, carrying children to school five days a week, and when those buses have done that they have not much else to do until in the afternoon when they collect the children again. It is possible in some counties, depending on how the education service is organised, that those buses could be used in some rural areas to put on a service here and there in marginal circumstances where there would not otherwise be a service, and clearly that is the thought behind the Bill. It is a practical measure. Everybody knows that these buses stand doing nothing for most of the day, whereas they could be put to work for a few marginal services which would be tremendously valuable to rural populations.

I do not see the cogency of the point raised by my noble friend Lord Lucas of Chilworth in this context. The drivers of these vehicles are trusted men, who have been picked and trained by local education authorities because they are reliable, and therefore they could be trusted to carry out the kind of service I have indicated. If that developed to the point where those school buses were plying in a big way, so to speak, for hire, carrying passengers, so that the general nature of their activity changed, then the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, would have increasing cogency. But seen in the practical context that these school buses could be used to give a valuable service in rural areas—in a marginal sort of way, perhaps making one or two journeys a day—that is something we should not miss if it could be done under the Bill. I therefore hope my noble friend will resist Amendment No. 6—I am sure he will resist No. 5—because we should lose something which could be very helpful in the countryside.

4.5 p.m.


My Lords, I had intended to speak after the Minister's reply but I feel that I must make a few points, and I do not propose to weary your Lordships or add to the general principle which was so cogently expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Underhill. What my noble friends have said against the amendment has not convinced me. As for training these people, which matter was raised by my noble friend Lord Digby, let us first consider the case of the existing driver. Presumably he would not have any training; after all, he has been driving these buses. He would simply go along for his test, and if he did not pass, then he should not be driving in the first place. For new drivers, I cannot see why there should be one system for one set of drivers and another for a second set. I suppose, regrettably, that Amendment No. 5 we shall have to let go, but I feel we shall have to put Amendment No. 6 to the test, unless the Minister can give some assurance, even at this late hour, or can be persuaded to accept it.


My Lords, I hope my noble friend will resist the amendment because although there is undoubted logic in the argument put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, on the rather dry and narrow ground of consistency, it should be borne in mind that life is not consistent. My main objection lies in the fact that one of the great qualities of the Bill is that it is fundamentally a de-regularising measure, whereas this is a regularising or re-regularising amendment which flies in the face of the spirit of the Bill.


I resist both Amendments Nos. 5 and 6, my Lords, but first I would say in answer to the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran, that I am most concerned at his concern at not having received copies of communications. While the communications regarding these amendments have not been in written form, I have been in communication verbally in trying to be helpful to the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, in the technicalities of the matter, because we have an obligation to do that and we will always try to do it. When, however, he makes the point of other communications not having been copied, I undertake to look very thoroughly, after this discussion, into all such points to ensure that in future neither he nor any other noble Lord will ever again be able to say to me that I have not sent copies of communications that should have been sent. I gladly undertake to do that.

I am as much concerned about safety as anyone, and if I had any real fears here I should have to go along with the noble Lord, Lord Underhill. It is true of course, as the noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger said, that a situation could arise involving an accident. There has not been one up to now (one might say "Blessed for that", and I would agree) and regardless of whatever we might do, whether we had any regime for licensing, that would not mean there would never be an accident. However, I wish to assure noble Lords that I have reconsidered the matter most carefully, as I said I would, because I took very seriously the vigour with which the noble Lord, Lord Underhill made the point, and my ministerial colleagues took it equally seriously. We have looked at all that was said on Report on this subject, and on balance I have concluded that it would be wrong to subject the drivers of school buses belonging to local education authorities to public service vehicle driver licensing when they are carrying fare-paying passengers.

As was said by my noble friends Lord Digby and Lord Ridley, who have great experience in these matters—and I am grateful for their comments—it would lead to further problems for local authorities. I will not major on the cost argument because where you have safety, cost must be secondary, and as one who has pursued cost value as much as almost anyone in local government, I have always tried to put safety above it, and I shall continue to do so; noble Lords will hear me make this point on other Bills to come before the House. Even so, there is always a sensible approach to take, and I must say that while local authorities have problems at this time about which we all know, in my thinking I am not allowing the cost aspect to be overriding.

Local education authorities are responsible elected bodies and since the war they have been able to run school buses and have never been subject to public service vehicle licensing and its adjuncts. It has been for them to decide what type of vehicle to use and what qualifications to require of their drivers. As has been pointed out, over all those years I am unaware of any accident or injury to pupils being carried in such vehicles, and certainly of none which could be blamed on the lack of qualifications of the driver. I say that, fully hoping that I shall never be taken to task on the point; but, as the noble Baroness said, such a thing could happen. I consider that local education authorities are responsible bodies and are to be trusted in this matter.

All else apart, as my noble friend Lord Hawke said, what the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, is proposing is in fact illogical. He wants the drivers of these vehicles to have PSV drivers' licences when fare-paying passengers are carried, but when the vehicle is carrying pupils free of charge to and from school there would be no such requirement. Surely the noble Lord is not suggesting that schoolchildren need less in the way of skill or care on the part of their driver than do adults. I appreciate that what the noble Lord is doing is searching for a compromise, but I respectfully suggest that what he is proposing is an illogicality.

Having said all that, I hasten to add, in all fairness, that the present law is itself illogical. While a special driving licence, following usually a special test, is required of people driving large passenger vehicles in certain circumstances, the ordinary Part III driving licence allows its holder to drive the same vehicle and even to carry a load of passengers, provided that the vehicle is not being used for hire or reward. At this stage may I point out to my noble friend Lord Lucas of Chilworth that the kind of licence in question is the ordinary Part III driving licence. Many buses used by firms to carry their workers around, as well as privately-owned vehicles, can be driven by people with no special qualification. There is an anomaly here, and it is something which we should, and indeed shall, be looking at, though there may be no simple solution, since many people—such as fitters, for instance—have to drive buses in the course of their work.

It may be some comfort to the noble Lord, Lord Underhill, if I say that we intend to look at the whole area of large passenger vehicle driver licensing, but this is not a matter that can be dealt with in this Bill at this time. Therefore I hope that in the light of the reservations that I have expressed, we can take a balanced view of this matter, and in the circumstances, if the noble Lord does not feel able to withdraw the amendment, I fear that I shall have to continue to resist it.

4.22 p.m.


My Lords, naturally, I am most disappointed at the attitude expressed by the Minister on behalf of the Government. I fully accept that the noble Lord is as concerned as any other noble Lord with safety. However, I should like to deal with one or two other points that have been made in the debate before turning to the Minister's reply. A number of noble Lords have stressed that we are dealing with public authorities which know their duties. Are not PTEs public authorities? Who would ever suggest that a PTE could put a bus on the road without having to meet the requirements regarding a public service vehicle driver's licence simply because it happened to be a public authority? The National Bus Company, in a way, is a public authority. The Scottish Transport Group is a public authority. Yet it is suggested that this is the one case in which, because the bodies concerned happen to be local authorities, the requirement— which is firmly written into the Act, as noble Lords will be aware—can be dispensed with.

I am pleased to note the support of the noble Lord, Lord Lucas of Chilworth. The point he made is quite valid. The drivers are being given additional responsibilities. They will no longer drive for a limited purpose or for restricted hours. They will be driving in a full local bus service. I hope that noble Lords will bear in mind what the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, said. The amendment is in no way widening the qualifications laid down in regard to any other PSV—in no way at all. We ask merely that what is laid down in the 1960 Act should continue to apply in this particular circumstance.

Speaking about Amendment No. 6, surely if a local education authority wishes to extend its province to running a bus service (which is what it is to be allowed to do) it must be prepared to fall into line and meet the same requirements as must anyone else who wants to run a local bus service. The Bill is proposing relaxation with regard to licensing of new operators who want to run bus services. No one would suggest that a new operator, simply because he is a new operator, should not have to comply with all the requirements regarding PSVs. I earlier indicated to your Lordships that we have already surrendered four of the safety provisions which would apply to any new operators of a local bus service. The only new operator which will be outside the regulations will be the local education authority. I defy any noble Lord to say that that is logical or justifiable in any way.

I must make reply to a point mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Nugent of Guildford, since we are not opposing the principle of the scheme, which is that buses should be used in this way. That principle was agreed at the Committee stage; so we are not arguing about it. All we are saying is that if this is to be the wish of Parliament, then qualifications relating to PSV drivers must apply in this case.

As I have said, I fully accept that the noble Lord the Minister is as much concerned with safety provisions as I and any other of your Lordships are. He asked us to look at the matter with a balanced and sensible approach. I suggest that Amendment No. 6 in particular tries to look at the matter with a balanced and sensible approach. A local education authority might wish to extend into a new field. It could run a full bus service throughout the two months of the summer holiday. To say that in such a case there is no need to comply with the PSV driving licence requirement is, I believe, absolutely illogical.

I appreciate that the Minister put forward a point about the present illogicality regarding school transport. Personally I regret that situation, but I cannot deal with it in this amendment. If the Government are to put forward a consolidation Bill, perhaps they will look at the point, but I do not know when there is to be a review or when further legislation is to be placed before this House and another place. In the meantime, once the Bill receives Royal Assent, local education authorities will be able to run a full bus service whenever they are not engaged in transporting children to school. I am prepared to compromise with your Lordships because I can see that there are difficulties in regard to accepting Amendment No. 5 on the grounds that it is concerned with only a slight extension of the present situation regarding school buses.

I should like to see that proposal apply, and perhaps there is illogicality in my not pressing it, but obviously the House is not disposed to support Amendment No. 5. However, with regard to Amendment No. 6, I believe that on grounds of safety, and bearing in mind the question of logicality, to exempt only these particular buses in the whole of the country cannot be justified, no matter how well the Minister may have presented what is really a very difficult and very bad case. Therefore I hope that the House will support Amendment No. 6. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 5.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord UNDERHILL moved Amendment No. 6: Page 29, line 37, leave out from ("say") to end of line 41 and insert ("sections 16, 17, 18 and 19(1) of this Act, shall not apply to a school bus belonging to a local education authority in the course of its use by the authority in accord- ance with this subsection; and section 144 of the 1960 Act (public service vehicle drivers' licences) shall apply to a school bus belonging to a local education authority in the course of its use by the authority in accordance with paragraph (b) of this subsection").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 6, and in so

doing I must ask your Lordships to divide on this very important issue.

4.29 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 6) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 86; Not-Contents, 98.

Airedale, L. Galpern, L. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L. [Teller.]
Ampthill, L. Gladwyn, L.
Amulree, L. Gordon-Walker, L. Porritt, L.
Ardwick, L. Goronwy-Roberts, L. Richardson, L.
Avebury, L. Grey, E. Rochester, L.
Aylestone, L. Hale, L. Sainsbury, L.
Balogh, L. Hampton, L. Seear, B.
Banks, L. Hayter, L. Segal, L.
Barrington, V. Henderson, L. Shinwell, L.
Bernstein, L. Houghton of Sowerby, L. Simon, V.
Beswick, L. Jacques, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Birk, B. Janner, L. Stamp, L.
Blyton, L. Jeger, B. Stewart of Alvechurch, B.
Boston of Faversham, L. Kaldor, L. Stewart of Fulham, L.
Bowden, L. Kilbracken, L. Stone, L.
Brockway, L. Leatherland, L. Strabolgi, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L. Lee of Newton, L. Strathcarron, L.
Bruce of Donington, L. Leonard, L. Strauss, L.
Byers, L. Listowel, E. Swinfen, L.
Collison, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. [Teller.] Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Cudlipp, L. Teviot, L.
Darling of Hillsborough, L. Lloyd of Kilgerran, L. Underhill, L.
David, B. Longford, E. Wallace of Coslany, L.
Davies of Leek, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L. Wedderburn of Charlton, L
Davies of Penryhs, L. McCarthy, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Denington, B. Mishcon, L. Whaddon, L.
Elwyn-Jones, L. Noel-Baker, L. White, B.
Fisher of Rednal, B. Northfield, L. Winterbottom, L.
Fortescue, E. Peart, L. Wootton of Abinger, B.
Gaitskell, B.
Adeane, L. Denham, L. [Teller.] Hylton-Foster, B.
Airey of Abingdon, B. Digby, L. Ilchester, E.
Alport, L. Dormer, L. Inglewood, L.
Avon, E. Drumalbyn, L. Kimberley, E.
Bellwin, L. Dundee, E. Kinnaird, L.
Belstead, L. Ellenborough, L. Lauderdale, E.
Berkeley, B. Elliot of Harwood, B. Long, V.
Bessborough, E. Elton, L. Lovat, L.
Boyd of Merton, V. Emmet of Amberley, B. Luke, L.
Bridgeman, V. Faithfull, B. Lyell, L.
Broadbridge, L. Falkland, V. McAlpine of Moffat, L.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Ferrers, E. Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Brooke of Ystradfellte, B. Ferrier, L. Macleod of Borve, B.
Caccia, L. Forbes, L. Mancroft, L.
Campbell of Croy, L. Geoffrey-Lloyd, L. Mansfield, E.
Clancarty, E. Glenkinglas, L. Marley, L.
Clitheroe, L. Gowrie, E. Martonmere, L.
Clwyd, L. Gridley, L. Morris, L.
Cockfield, L. Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.) Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Cork and Orrery, E. Newall, L.
Cottesloe, L. Halsbury, E. Norfolk, D.
Craigavon, V. Hankey, L. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Crathorne, L. Hanworth, V. Onslow, E.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Harvington, L. Orr-Ewing, L.
Davidson, V. Hawke, L. Penrhyn,L.
De Freyne, L. Henley, L. Piercy, L.
De La Warr, E. Hunt, L. Rawlinson of Ewell, L.
Redcliffe-Maud, L. Soames, L. (L. Pesident.) Trefgarne, L.
Redmayne, L. Somers, L. Trenchard, V
Reigate, L. Spens, L. Ullswater, V.
Ridley, V. Strathclyde, L. Vickers, B.
Sandys, L. [Teller.] Strathcona and Mount Royal, L. Vivian, L.
Selkirk, E. Strathspey, L. Young, B.

On Question, amendment agreed to.