HC Deb 31 January 1940 vol 356 cc1166-7W
Mr. Hannah

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that efforts are being made by the district transport offices of Wolverhampton compulsorily to divert goods from road haulage to the railways; that this threatens to deprive a number of men of their jobs, and what action does he propose to take, in view of the apprehension felt by manufacturers in that area, of the effect on their foreign trade if rail transport is compulsorily substituted for road transport?

Captain Wallace

The limitation in the available supplies of liquid fuel for road transport makes it necessary that before supplementary fuel rations are issued for road haulage, it should be established that there is no suitable alternative form of transport. Only in this way can the available supplies of fuel be preserved to meet the needs of essential road haulage. These restrictions, imposed by war conditions, will inevitably have led to a certain reduction of employment among drivers, and I regret that this should be so. Every effort, however, is made to restrict such diversion of traffic to what is essential in the national interest. I shall be glad to consider any case which is brought to my notice where it is alleged that restrictions on fuel supply have had a detrimental effect on the export trade.