§ Mr. Colvin
asked the Minister for Trade when the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report on Bristol Omnibus Company Ltd., Cheltenham District Motor Company, City of Cardiff district council, Trent Motor Traction Company Ltd. and West Midlands passenger transport executive will be published; and if he will make a statement.
§ Dr. Vaughan
The report is published today.
The commission has examined the efficiency of the undertakings' local bus service in considerable detail. In general it finds much to commend, though it finds scope for improvement in all of the undertakings. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport will be asking the undertakings to look carefully at the commission's detailed recommendations for improved efficiency and will make a statement to the House in due course.
In addition to questions of efficiency, the commission was asked to consider the undertakings' response to competition in the supply of local bus services. The commission considers that City of Cardiff Transport and Trent Motor Traction Company Ltd. have used their superior financial strength in an attempt to drive off small competitors. However, it does not conclude that the undertakings' behaviour has amounted to abuse of any monopoly situation or to conduct operating against the public interest.
I congratulate the commission on a very thorough and painstaking piece of work, which I believe will be of great value not only to the individual operators covered by the reference but to the bus industry as a whole. The report illustrates very well the contribution which the commission can make to the efficiency of public sector trading bodies, and I look forward to seeing the commission's further reports on its continuing programme of such investigations.