HL Deb 26 May 1988 vol 497 cc1005-6

11.6 a.m.

Lord Rodney asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the latest figures for sales of new cars in the United Kingdom.

Lord Beaverbrook

My Lords, there were just over three quarters of a million new cars registered in the UK in the first four months of this year. This is an increase of 10 per cent. on the corresponding period of last year.

Lord Rodney

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that Answer. Does he agree that the recent announcement of a new Rover model for 1989, with the consequent increase in the labour force, is an encouraging sign for the British motor car industry? Can he say what percentage of newly registered cars were manufactured in this country?

Lord Beaverbrook

My Lords, I agree with my noble friend that Rover's programme of new models is clearly encouraging for the British motor car industry as a whole. As regards import penetration, analysis of new registrations of passenger cars in the period January to April of this year shows that 54.5 per cent. were imported. In the corresponding period for last year, 49.4 per cent. were imported. However, I should say that the Ford strike undoubtedly had an impact on those figures, whereas during 1987 there was a drop in the percentage level of registrations of foreign-made vehicles.

Lord Williams of Elvel

My Lords, can the noble Lord tell the House what the current net annual increase in the total car population is, as opposed to sales for new cars? Having given that figure, can he then tell us how to avoid traffic jams?

Lord Beaverbrook

My Lords, that is an interesting point. I have all sorts of figures in front of me concerning new car production. However, I do not have figures relating to cars which are taken off the road or scrapped. If I can find those figures, I shall of course let the noble Lord have them. No doubt they will be of great interest to him. However encouraging the figures may be, I doubt whether he will get around much more quickly than he does at the moment.

Lord Fletcher

My Lords, can the Minister say what steps are being taken in central London and the central areas of other big cities to improve traffic conditions?

Lord Beaverbrook

My Lords, I must tell the noble Lord that that is another Question. The present Question concerns registration of cars in this country. Although that may have some bearing on traffic, the noble Lord's is another point.