HC Deb 04 November 1977 vol 938 cc8-10W
Mr. Bradley

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what decisions were made at the meeting of the EEC Council of Transport Ministers which was held in Luxembourg on 27th October; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. William Rodgers

I reported to the House on 1st July that at the meeting of the last Transport Council in June, the item of greatest immediate importance to the United Kingdom was the proposal to amend EEC Regulation 543/69 on bus and lorry drivers' hours of work. At that meeting it had proved impossible to agree to a package of amendments including the staged introduction of the regulation for domestic traffic in the United Kingdom and Ireland. I am glad to be able to say that at last week's meeting the Council agreed to the amendment of the regulation, and to the introduction of the amended regulation in the United Kingdom and Ireland over a period of three years from 1st January 1978. This agreement requires the United Kingdom to seek the Commission's authorisation for our proposed programme of changes over the three-year period, and I shall be doing this within the next few days.

The Council went on to approve a related regulation to bring into force the European Agreement on the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR).

The Council adopted a compromise regulation on tariffs for road haulage under which those member States which prefer compulsory (bracket) tariffs will be at liberty to use these in dealings between each other; other member States will use so-called reference, or indicative, tariffs negotiated by the road haulage industry in consultation with their Governments and the Commission. Reference tariffs are intended to provide guidance only and place no obligation on operators or their customers. This regulation will be operated for an experimental period.

The Council noted the first biennial report from the Commission on the financial and economic situation of EEC railway undertakings and adopted a regulation designed to make it easier to compare their financial results.

It also adopted an amendment to the 1972 regulation dealing with common rules for regular bus and coach services between member States in order to exclude sea miles covered by ferry.

The Council approved in principle a draft directive providing for the mutual

1973–74 1977–78
Attendance allowance:
Higher rate 118,000 146,000
(31.12.1974) (30.9.1977)(a)
Lower rate 69,000 137,000
(31.12.1974) (30.9.1977)(a)
Mobility allowance None(b) 57,000
Invalidity benefit 444,000 452,000(d)
Non-contributory invalidity pension None(c) 130,000(e)
War disablement pension 333,000 309,000(f)
Industrial disablement benefit 201,000 201,000(g)
(a) Provisional figures.
(b) Mobility allowance was introduced on 1st January 1976.
(c) Non-contributory invalidity pension was introduced on 20th November 1975.
(d) at 31st May 1975.
(e) estimate at 31st December 1976.
(f) at 31st December 1976.
(g) provisional at 30th September 1976.

recognition of diplomas, certificates and other evidence of formal qualifications for road haulage and road passenger operators.

There was an exchange of views on a number of other issues.