Carriers'licences (Service Volunteers).

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport. – in the House of Commons on 22nd May 1940.

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Commander Sir Archibald South by:

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that many small holders of B carriers' licences, who have volunteered to join the Army, and have therefore had to surrender their licences, are now being told that they are not necessarily entitled to the return of their licences when the war is over; and whether, in view of the widespread desire that, so far as possible, the civilian livelihood of men who joined the Forces should be preserved for them, he will take steps to guarantee to those B licence holders the right to obtain a B licence when they return to civilian life?

Photo of Sir John Reith Sir John Reith , Southampton

As my hon. and gallant Friend will be aware, carriers' licences are issued by independent statutory licensing authorities, who are bound by the provisions of the Road and Rail Traffic Act, 1933, and neither they nor the Ministry can go beyond them. It is obviously desirable, however, that every consideration should be given to holders of carriers' licences serving with His Majesty's Forces, and this question has been discussed with the licensing authorities. They are keeping records of all vehicles deleted from licence during the war, with a view to giving sympathetic consideration to applications at the end of the war for reinstatement.

Photo of Commander Sir Archibald Southby Commander Sir Archibald Southby , Epsom

Does my right hon. Friend realise that the holders of B licences who voluntarily surrendered their licences to join up require something more than a promise of sympathetic consideration? They expect treatment corresponding to the provision which this House has made for men who have joined up being reinstated in their jobs after the war.

Photo of Sir John Reith Sir John Reith , Southampton

I desired to convey that it is not a question of what should be done, but of what can be done under the existing Act. Every consideration will be given, and we have little doubt that the end which my hon. and gallant Friend wishes will, in fact, be achieved.

Photo of Commander Sir Archibald Southby Commander Sir Archibald Southby , Epsom

Will my right hon. Friend consider the propriety of amending the Act, so that these people may be sure of getting their licences back?

Photo of Sir John Reith Sir John Reith , Southampton

I am quite prepared to consider anything.