asked the Minister of Transport (1) if he will appoint a committee of investigation into the need for the modernisation of transport within a 50 miles radius of Manchester;
(2) what steps are being taken to improve the transport services between North Staffordshire and other areas within a 50 miles radius; and if he will appoint an investigating committee to consider the transport facilities in the area.
The Transport Act, 1947, lays on the British Transport Commission a general duty to see that adequate and efficient transport facilities are provided throughout the country, but the responsibility for modernising and improving services not controlled by the Commission still rests with the independent operators concerned. In view of the Commission's duties under the Act, it is for them to consider whether the appointment of special committees of investigation is necessary, and in any event, if my hon. Friend has in mind any particular deficiencies in the services controlled by the Commission in the areas referred to, I am sure they would be glad to investigate them.
As the Ministry of Transport is aware of the position in this area, will they use their influence to ask the Commission to take action similar to that taken in the London area, and set up a working party to investigate the needs of the area?
I would point out that the problem of London Transport was a very major problem, but, even then, the finding of the committee does not indicate any immediate action. With regard to the problem in the area to which my hon. Friend refers, it occurs to me that the facilities provided by an area scheme under the Transport Act would be a more rapid way of dealing with that problem.
As a matter of fact, in this particular locality, none; but, as my hon. Friend is aware, a scheme is under consideration in the North-Eastern area, and it is up to other localities also to provide similar inquiries.