Clause 22. — (Restriction on power of board to establish garages.)

Orders of the Day — London Passenger Transport (Re-Committed) Bill. – in the House of Commons on 6th December 1932.

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5.18 p.m.

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

I beg to move, in page 31, line 42, to leave out paragraph (a).

In moving this Amendment I admit that I have not enthusiastic hopes that the Minister will accept it, judging by the very cool reception which he has extended to many other good and practical suggestions from these benches, but I hope to advance reasons for the removal of this paragraph which may induce him to reconsider the position. The Clause deals particularly with the power of the board to establish garages. I should have thought that the very fact that the congestion of traffic in London has made it necessary to establish this board would have suggested the desirability of encouraging people who have to come into the inner area of London to use the traffic services of the board rather than bring their own cars into an already congested traffic centre. Everyone realises the enormous congestion of traffic in our streets. We have 20th century traffic with 19th century roads, and we ought to do everything we can to encourage motorists to leave their cars on the outskirts of London in preference to bringing them into the city.

Unless this paragraph is deleted the board, I should imagine, will have a legitimate grievance. The concerns which are now being brought under the board would probably realise in the ordinary way that it would be a wise thing for them to establish similar garages to that which has been opened at the Morden Tube terminus, saying to motorists, "Come as far as this point on your journey to London, put up your cars at our garage and continue the journey by train; and while you are about your business we will render the services which ordinary common courtesy would suggest. If you have a puncture or any little repairs are needed, they can be carried out while you are in the city about your business." I am sure the Committee will be well advised to ask the Minister to remove this particular paragraph, because we think that it definitely limits what are the ordinary function of a traffic undertaking. The board ought to have the right to set up garages and encourage people to use them by being in a position to provide the ordinary garage facilities, because in my opinion that will help to bring passenger traffic to the board's undertakings.

5.22 p.m.

Mr. C. WI MAIMS:

I was hoping we should have a reply from the Government, because I regard this as a purely Socialist Amendment, put forward in anticipation of other days. The effect of accepting the Amendment would be to enable the board to extend its work ad infinitum—selling petrol and doing anything they liked in connection with motor cars or anything else. They might probably set up aeroplanes. As things progress that is a possible development. I hope the Government will have nothing whatever to do with this Socialist Amendment. After what has been happening I was frightened the Government were going to allow this Amendment to be carried, but I now see that my hon. Friend the Minister of Transport is going to reply to it, and I would tell him quite frankly that this cleverly-worded Amendment, innocent though it looks, is very, very far reaching in view of the powers the board will have. If their powers are to be extended in this way they will be in a position to kill a large number of small traders, and I hope the Government will resist the Amendment.

5.24 p.m.

Photo of Sir Percy Pybus Sir Percy Pybus , Harwich

The hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) ought not to reproach me for not replying to the Amendment before. I was about to do so when I taw him rising, and thought it would be unfair to rob the House of one of the very few opportunities it has of hearing what he has to say.

Photo of Mr Charles Williams Mr Charles Williams , Torquay

The Chairman was on the point of putting the Amendment, and I only rose to stimulate the Minister to reply.

Photo of Sir Percy Pybus Sir Percy Pybus , Harwich

I think the feeling of the Committee will be that with all the activities and all the responsibilities which the board will have to shoulder there is no necessity for them to carry on also the business of the ordinary garage proprietor. The Clause contains certain provisions which enable the board to carry on the Morden garage undertaking and other garages, which it will take over for a period of three years or for any less time in which they can dispose of them. A subsequent Amendment deals with the provision of shelter for cars, and when that comes up I hope to be able to make a satisfactory statement about it; but the proposal that the board should carry on the business of a, general garage proprietor selling petrol, oil, etc., is one to which we cannot agree.

5.26 p.m.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

The Minister has not in the least met the point which was put forward in this Amendment, and we shall have to divide upon it. The question is whether the London Passenger Transport Board are to be allowed in future to create facilities in other places such as the combine created at Morden. A great many people who have considered the problem of London traffic look upon it as a wise and proper development that people should he able to come in from outlying districts in their ears, leave their cars at the station—not a mile or two away from it—and make use of the transport facilities of the board to get into the centre of the city. Apart from power to carry on the Morden undertaking—which is not, as I understand it, limited to three years, as the Minister said, but is in perpetuity—there is no power in the Bill far the board to set up any such garage, and we are anxious to know whether the Minister contemplates stopping future developments on the same lines in other parts of London. This particular Amendment does not deal with the supply of fuel and lubricants, which arises on the next Amendment. I would like the Minister to tell us definitely whether he contemplates that the London Passenger Transport Board will be able to provide storage for passengers' motor cars in the future, or whether the Government intend permanently to stop them from making any such provision?

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The 'Committee divided: Ayes, 262; Noes, 37.

Division No. 19.]AYES.[5.29 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelErskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G.{Wd.Gr'n)
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)Essenhigh, Reginald ClareLockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)
Albery, Irving JamesEvans, R. T. (Carmarthen)Lymington, Viscount
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)Flelden, Edward BrocklehurstMacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)
Applin. Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.Forestier-Walker, Sir LeolinMcCorquodale, M. S.
Apsley, LordFox, Sir GiffordMac Donald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)
Atholl, Duchess ofFraser, Captain IanMacdonald, Capt. P. D. (L. of W.)
Ballile, Sir Adrian W. M.Fremantle, Sir FrancisMcKie, John Hamilton
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyGanzonl, Sir JohnMcLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)
Barrie, Sir Charles CouparGibson, Charles GranvllieMacmillan, Maurice Harold
Seauchamp, Sir Brograve CampbellGilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnMacpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th.C.)Glossop, C. W. H.Magnay, Thomas
Belt, Sir Alfred L.Gluckstein, Louis HalleMakins, Brigadier-General Ernest
Benn, Sir Arthur ShirleyGlyn, Major Ralph G. C.Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest NathanielGoff, Sir PerkMargesson, Capt. Henry David R.
Bernays, RobertGoodman, Colonel Albert W.Marsden, Commander Arthur
Blindell, JamesGraham, Sir F. Fergus [C'mb'ri'd, N.)Martin, Thomas B.
Boulton, W. W.Grattan-Doyle, Sir NicholasMason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Bower, Lieut.-Com, Robert TattonGriffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.Grimston, R. V.Merriman, Sir F. Boyd
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)Gunston, Captain D. W.Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale
Briscoe, Capt. Richard GeorgeHacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.Muirhead, Major A. J.
Broadbent, Colonel JohnHamilton, Sir George (Ilford)Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)Newton, Sir Douglas George C.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd, Hexham)Hammerstey, Samuel S.Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Brown, Ernest (Leith)Hanbury, CecilNicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Hanley, Dennis A.North, Captain Edward T.
Burnett, John GeorgeHarbord, ArthurPeake, Captain Osbert
Burton, Colonel Henry WalterHartland, George A.Pearson, William G.
Butt, Sir AlfredHarvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)Penny, Sir George
Cadogan, Hon. EdwardHarvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Percy, Lord Eustace
Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley)Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)Peters, Dr. Sidney John
Castlereagh, ViscountHeadlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.Petherick, M.
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Heligers, Captain F. F. A.Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bliston)
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division)Pickering, Ernest H.
Chalmers, John RutherfordHoldsworth, HerbertPickford, Hon. Mary Ada
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)Potter, John
Chorlton, Alan Ernest LeofricHornby, FrankPowell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Christie, James ArchibaldHorobin, Ian M.Procter, Major Henry Adam
Clarke, FrankHorsbrugh, FlorencePybus, Percy John
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeHoward, Tom ForrestRaikes, Henry V. A. M.
Clayton, Dr. George C.Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)
Colfox, Major William PhilipHudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir GodfreyHume, Sir George HopwoodRamsbotham, Herwald
Colville, Lieut-Colonel J.Hurst, Sir Gerald B.Ramsden, E.
Conant, R. J. E.Hutchison, W. D. (Essex. Rom'fd)Rankin, Robert
Cook, Thomas A.Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.Rathbone, Eleanor
Cooke, DouglasIveagh, Countess ofRea, Walter Russell
Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Cranborne, ViscountJames, Wing Com. A. W. H.Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)Jamleson, DouglasReid, William Allan (Derby)
Crossley, A. C.Jesson, Major Thomas E.Renter, John R.
Cruddas, Lieut-Colonel BernardJoel, Dudley J, BarnatoRentoul, Sir Gervais S.
Culverwell, Cyril TomJones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Curry, A. C.Ker, J. CampbellRopner, Colonel L.
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)Rosbotham, S. T.
Davison, Sir William HenryKerr, Hamilton W.Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Dawson, Sir PhilipKirkpatrick, William M.Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Denman, Hon. R. D.Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Dickie, John P.Knebworth, viscountRussell, Richard John (Eddisbury)
Donner, P. W.Knight, HolfordSalmon, Major Isidore
Doran, EdwardLamb, Sir Joseph QuintonSalt, Edward W.
Dower, Captain A. V. G,Lambert, Rt. Hon. GeorgeSamuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)
Drewe, CedricLatham, Sir Herbert PaulSandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Duckworth, George A. V.Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)Scone, Lord
Dugdale, Captain Thomas LionelLees-Jones, JohnShaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Dunglass, LordLeighton, Major B. E. P.Shaw, captain William T. (Forfar)
Edmondson, Major A. J.Lowis, OswaldShepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.Liddall, Walter S.Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)
Elliston, Captain George SampsonLindsay, Noel KerSkelton, Archibald Noel
Elmley, ViscountLister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-Slater, John
Emrys-Evans, P, V.Llewellin, Major John J.Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Entwistle, Cyril FultardLlewellyn-Jones, FrederickSmith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine.C.)
Somerset, ThomasThomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)Weymouth, Viscount
Somervell, Donald BradleyThomas, James P. L. (Hereford)Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)Thompson, LukeWilliams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.Thomson, Sir Frederick CharlesWilliams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Southby, Commander Archibald R. JTodd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Spencer, Captain Richard A.Touche, Gordon CosmoWomersley, Walter James
Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)Tryon, Rt. Hon. George ClementWood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir ArthurTurton, Robert HughWorthington, Dr. John V.
Storey, SamuelVaughan-Morgan, Sir KenyonYoung, Rt. Hon. sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Strauss, Edward A.Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Strickland, Captain W. F.Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.Watt, Captain George Steven H.Sir Victor Warrender and Dr. Morris-Jones.
Sugden, Sir Wilfrid HartWayland, Sir William A.
Tate, Mavis ConstanceWells, Sydney Richard
NOES.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)Greenwood, Rt. Hon. ArthurMacdonald, Gordon (Ince)
Banfield, John WilliamGrenfell, David Ress (Glamorgan)McEntee, Valentine L.
Batey, JosephGriffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)Grundy, Thomas W.Maxtan, James
Briant, FrankHall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)Milner, Major James
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvll)Parkinson, John Allen
Buchanan, GeorgeHicks, Ernest GeorgePrice, Gabriel
Cape, ThomasJones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Thome, William James
Cocks, Frederick SeymourJones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Cripps, Sir StaffordKirkwood. DavidWilliams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Daggar, GeorgeLansbury, Rt. Hon. GeorgeWilliams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Logan, David Gilbert
Edwards, CharlesLunn, WilliamTELLERS FOR THE NOES
Mr. John and Mr. Groves.

Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

I beg to move, in page 32, line 4, at the end, to insert the words: or except the business of providing an open or covered place where the private motor cars of passengers using the transport services of the board may stand. 5.37 p.m.

The purpose of this Amendment is really to round off paragraph (a). It will have the interesting effect that any parking place which the board may provide it will have to provide free of charge to the public.

Photo of Sir Percy Pybus Sir Percy Pybus , Harwich

We propose to accept the Amendment.

5.38 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

This means, then, that private motor cars can have free parking facilities, whereas other people who happen to have to pay fares, have to provide, as part of their fares, payment for the public parking place. Surely a railway station on the Underground is part of the cost of the running of the system, and the fare that the passenger pays covers the maintenance of the station that he happens to pass through or at which he gets on or off. Hon. Members, in their enthusiasm for public service, now say that the people who use private motor cars shall be provided with conveniences at the public expense without paying anything themselves.

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Fareham

Will the hon. Gentleman allow me, if I may, to interrupt him. I think the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) was wrong in saying that parking places will be provided free. There is no doubt that a reasonable charge can be made from people who use the parking places.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

Why did he not say so then?

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

I interpreted my own words wrongly.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

If you say a wrong thing you should not try to make people believe that you are right. We stand for public service, which does not mean merely the provision of conveniences but, in addition, means that, when the cost has to be met, everybody pays his share.

5.40 p.m.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

It was most unfortunate that the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) and the Minister could not have told us on the last Amendment that it was proposed to accept this Amendment. Had the Minister done so, we might have saved the time of the House over a division. It was so obviously the one point that we were insisting upon in our Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I beg to move, in page 32, line 5, to leave out paragraph (b).

5.41 p.m.

This Amendment raises the question as to whether, in those cases where parking is allowed, people will be able to get what may be an essential for getting away. There often are cases when people run out of petrol, or run very short of petrol, when they arrive at such a place, and then the car stands all day. When they desire to go away at night, there may be no fuel. Obviously, there are matters like punctured tyres, and it will be a very great facility to have things mended while the owners are in London. I would ask the Minister whether some words can be put in to permit that the ordinary small conveniences desired by motorists might be performed when he is leaving his car for a day, especially in cases where there is no adjoining garage at which such facilities can be obtained. There may be places where a garage may be some considerable distance away. When Morden station was first opened, there was no garage anywhere near. It was more or less an isolated district out in the country. Since then, building has taken place, and garages are now fairly close. I want to ask the Minister whether words could be put in to permit what I have suggested being done for the convenience of the passenger.

5.43 p.m.

Photo of Sir Percy Pybus Sir Percy Pybus , Harwich

I admit that the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) is ingenious, but the Government does not dissent from the view that the board should be precluded from engaging in the general business of supplying fuel, accessories and spare parts, and I cannot accept the Amendment.

5.44 p.m.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

I do not understand on what public grounds the board should be precluded from providing the very small facilities proposed by the Mover of the Amendment. There is something to be said for them, and they would be a convenience for the people, especially in view of the fact that the Government have accepted the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams). I ask the Minister to consider very seriously, in view of his acceptance of that Amendment, whether he can provide words by which that Amendment will be made really operative.

5.45 p.m.

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Fareham

My hon. Friend hardly shows his characteristic logic in suggesting that, because the board are allowed to have a parking place for ears, they must as a necessary corollary be allowed to carry on a repair depot or put up a fuel pump. I should have thought that there was a, very clear line of demarcation between the two activities. At any rate, we do not propose to allow the board to go beyond the provision of parking places. Hon. Members do not think it at all unusual or inconvenient if, when they are allowed to leave their cars in a railway station yard while they go to London, they do not find a repair department provided by the railway for use while they are absent. If the board care to allow an oil pump to be set up in a parking place by some private undertaker, there is nothing to prevent them from renting the necessary space, just as the railway companies allow Messrs. Smith's bookstalls to be carried on on their platforms. We are not, however, prepared to allow the board to sell fuel or provide a repair depot, instead of leaving these matters to the ordinary people who carry on such businesses and pay the rates in the locality.

5.47 p.m.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

I am very much obliged to the Attorney-General for his reply. If it is clear that the board will not be precluded from allowing a fuel-selling pump to be set up in their parking places, I think that that would meet the ordinary practical objection. The question is one of some importance, because we feel that from the railway companies' point of view the provision of parking places and facilities for people using the railways needs to be developed, both by the main line railways and generally, for the purpose of combining motor transport with railway transport, and, if the board are not precluded from arranging with private enterprise for the provision of these small facilities, I am satisfied. I was under the impression that the Sub-section would preclude what is really in the interests of the railways as well as of motor traffic.

5.48 p.m.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

Will the Attorney-General tell us if the hoard will have the power to let premises I did not appreciate that under the Bill they would have any such power.

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Fareham

I will look into that point, and will take care that they have the power.

Amendment negatived.

Amendments made: In page 32, line 15, leave out the word "or."

In line 17, after the word "which," insert the words "or part of which."

In line 18, after the word "which," insert the words "or part of which."

In line 22, at the end, add the words: (iii) selling or otherwise disposing of vehicles which have been used for the purposes of their undertaking, or for the purpose of any working agreement made in pursuance of Section eighteen of this Act, or spare parts or equipment held by the board for use in connection with any such vehicle as aforesaid."—[Mr. Pybus.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the 'Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

5.50 p.m.

Photo of Mr Edward North Mr Edward North , Nuneaton

Before we pass this Clause, I should like to make one or two observations on it. It seems to me that this is the most contradictory Clause in the Bill up to the present. It starts by saying that the board shall not do certain things. Then there is a departure, and we find words providing that nothing in the Section shall prevent the board from carrying on the Morden Station Garage, or from continuing to carry on the business of any other garage forming part of an undertaking which has been transferred to the board. It seems to me that these two parts of the Clause are completely contradictory. I should like the Minister to tell us something about the business of the Morden Station Garage, and I should also like to know whether it is intended at the end of three years to dispose of this garage. I understand that it is not. If there are any garages that come within this Clause, I think the Committee ought to be informed about them. Are the board to be allowed to do the things which are forbidden in the first part of the Clause? I should like to hear some explanation of these points from the Minister.

5.52 p.m.

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Fareham

I do not think the Clause requires very much explanation. The first part prohibits the board from doing certain things, but it is a very customary device in the drafting of a Bill to add a proviso which excepts certain acts from the comprehensive prohibition contained in the earlier part of the Clause. The proviso to Clause 22 excepts the carrying on of the Morden Garage, which, as my hon. and gallant Friend correctly surmises, is not intended to be sold; it may be carried on by the board in perpetuity if they think fit. So far as regards the other garages, of which there is a considerable number, the board may only carry them on for three years, and after that time must dispose of them that is to say, after the expiry of the three years, there will be no power to carry on these garages. Obviously it is not desirable that the board should be forced to sell part of the undertaking which they have taken over at what one may call break-up or knock-out prices. The object of the period of three years is to allow of its being done with due regard to the market value of the garages which are disposed of.