New Clause. — (Roads Advisory Committee.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Ministry of Ways and Communications Bill – in the House of Commons on 1st July 1919.

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Photo of Sir Eric Geddes Sir Eric Geddes , Cambridge

I will confine my remarks to the simple point of this Road Advisory Committee. In agreeing to adopt a special Advisory Committee for roads the Government was actuated by the somewhat peculiar position in which roads are compared with any other form of transportation, and I include them as one of the means of transport. There are 2,000 authorities in this country dealing with roads and they are not maintained by a limited number but by a great number of boards, and it is manifestly the right thing that roads and road traffic should form—I do not wish to commit myself too definitely —a separate branch of this great Ministry of transportation which I hope will prevent the unnecessary competition of the various means of transportation for which the nation pays.

We have provided under Section 17 of the Bill in Committee for advisory committees on all these various subjects and various cardinal matters which the Bill deals with, and this Advisory Committee is one which I think is thoroughly justifiable in a particular way, and specifically so because of the peculiar position of roads. They are maintained locally. The users and road-maintaining authorities are different people, and it seems reasonable that we" should specifically say more than under Clause 17 that there shall be a special Advisory Committee. What I wish to point out is that this special Advisory Committee has not got the right to say that this or that shall or shall not be done. It is simply an Advisory Committee and has no executive power. The powers are exactly the same as they were when the Bill left the Committee. It is merely advisory and I hope my hon. Friend will not vote against this Amendment because it does not in any way restrict the powers of the Ministry.