asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport (1) whether he is aware of the unsatisfactory transport organisation in North Staffordshire; and what action is to be taken, in order to provide adequate transport facilities for the area;
(2) whether he will call together the local authorities of the North Staffordshire area, in order that steps can be taken to organise a joint transport concern; that they shall be provided with a number of passenger vehicles that are to arrive in the country, and others that are being built or diverted to other areas?
My Noble Friend arranged some time ago for an expert of the London Passenger Transport Board to assist the Regional Transport Commissioner in securing improvements of the services in this area. As a result, temporary assistance has been arranged, pending the provision of labour to repair and maintain the existing local fleets and the transfer of vehicles from elsewhere. Although difficulties still remain to be overcome, I am not yet satisfied that in present circumstances, the area would benefit if the operation of the bus services were taken out of the hands of the existing operators.
We have taken action. We are endeavouring now to secure additional labour and additional vehicles. The main difficulty is labour and materials. Even if the new authority the hon. Member proposes were set up, it would be faced with those major handicaps.