HC Deb 30 January 1957 vol 563 cc168-70W
44. Mr. Lewis

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation to make a statement on his recent discussions with the various organisations representing the road transport industry, in connection with petrol rationing.

Mr. Watkinson

Following meetings I had with representatives of the Road Haulage Association, the Traders Road Transport Association and the National Conference of Road Transport Clearing Houses on 8th, 9th and 10th January, respectively, I set up a National Consultative Committee to advise me on the working of the rationing system for goods vehicles. The Committee includes representatives of the road, rail and inland waterway carriers, of coastal shipping and of the trade union side of the road haulage industry.

54. Mr. Swingler

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what steps he has taken to ensure adequate supplies of petrol to long-distance road hauliers handling pottery goods, in cases where such goods cannot be handled by the railways without grave risk of damage or likelihood of delay.

Mr. Watkinson

The Regional Transport Commissioner for the West Midland Area has recently authorised increased allocations to hauliers, including those handling pottery goods. I understand that he is keeping in close touch with this industry.

67. Miss Bacon

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation how many identical letters he has sent to hon. Members in reply to their representations about petrol supplies for individuals and firms.

Mr. Watkinson

I have received, studied, and answered as yet some 400 letters about petrol sent to me by hon. Members on behalf of their constituents. It was clear from much of the correspondence that many constituents would be greatly helped by a reply explaining carefully the rationing system and the appeals machinery. I sent in this way 108 similar letters.

68. Mr. Chapman

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he is aware that the businesses of Hose-craft and Durawear shoe repairs, owned by Mr. R. W. Sharman, 1584, Pershore Road, Birmingham, 30, need 615 gallons of petrol to operate normally for four months; whether he is aware that the allocation of petrol he has made is only 25 per cent. of this figure, and will cripple the business; and why he is forcing a 75 per cent. economy on this business when he aims, nationally, at saving 25 per cent.

Mr. Watkinson

Mr. Sharman has received 320 gallons of petrol in his basic and supplementary ration combined. This is more than half of his normal requirements. If Mr. Sharman is still in difficulty he should appeal to the Regional Transport Commissioner. I have asked all Commissioners to give particular attention to applications involving livelihood or the continuity of a business.

70. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation why furniture distributors in the London area have been allocated 70 per cent. of their normal petrol requirements, whilst distributors in North-West England and in Scotland had their requests for increased allocations rejected on 14th January.

Mr. Watkinson

Generally speaking, the allocation of petrol to furniture distributors in the Metropolitan area is of the order of 60 per cent. of normal requirements. Since the middle of January, Regional Transport Commissioners in the North-West and Scotland and elsewhere have been reassessing all cases which come to them on appeal.

75. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will now state the fuel allocations to be made available to public service vehicle operators for the next rationing period, commencing 8th April, 1957, having regard to the present allocation of 50 per cent. of normal usage, and the special need for such operators to be fully informed as to fuel that will be available to them for long distance coach traffic during the summer holiday period, for express services, excursions, tours, and similar peregrinations.

Mr. Watkinson

I am very conscious of the need of bus and coach companies to be able to plan their summer operations and I will let them know how they are likely to stand as soon as it is practicable to do so.