§ Mr. Rhodes
asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs whether he will refer to the National Board for Prices and Incomes the proposed tariff increase by British Road Services Parcels Limited.
§ Mr. George Brown
At my request the Transport Holding Company, which owns British Road Services Parcels Limited agreed to ask that Company to postpone the introduction of their new tariff for parcels and small consignments in order that the matter might be further considered. I am grateful to the Holding Company for its co-operation.
I have now had an opportunity, with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport, to discuss the matter with the Transport Holding Company. The current scale of charges was introduced in 267W May, 1964, and there has been no increase since then—a period of 14 months during which road haulage charges generally have risen more than once. My right hon. Friend and I are satisfied that some increase in charges is now justified, taking into account increases in costs, as well as improvements in efficiency and other considerations set out in the White Paper on "Prices and Incomes Policy" (Cmnd. 2639). Moreover, it is inevitable that a proportionately higher increase should be applied to the charges for small parcels, which are relatively costly to handle, than to larger consignments.
The Transport Holding Company nevertheless recognises the importance both of working in accordance with the prices and incomes policy and of paying full regard to the considerations set out in the recent report of the National Board for Prices and Incomes. It has undertaken after discussion to arrange that British Road Services Parcels shall prepare for introduction towards the end of the month a revised tariff reducing the increase in charges originally proposed by about one-third. This will have the effect of increasing revenue by about 4 per cent. instead of by about 6 per cent. In these circumstances I am not proposing to refer the case to the National Board for Prices and Incomes.