The basis for computing the fee was the estimated average time required for carrying out the test to the standard required by the Ministry when charged at the rates generally in force in garages for work demanding corresponding technical skill.
Does the Minister recall that when the Road Traffic Bill was going through the House in 1956 the then Parliamentary Secretary, now Minister of Works, stated that on the basis of the Ministry's own testing station at Hendon, the charge for the public would be only 5s.? Here a charge of three times as much is being made by the garages. It is true that the 5s. did not include capital costs, but on the other hand there will be no, or negligible, capital costs for the garages.
I agree with the hon. Member, and I have been to the trouble of looking this up. Two figures—6s. and 5s.—were given. The 5s. was based on a testing time of 15 minutes. Having now had further practical experience, we are satisfied that the time taken for a test will be not 15 minutes but 45 minutes. Therefore, the new charge is exactly proportional to the old one.