Government Car Service

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Building and Works – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th May 1965.

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Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell 12:00 am, 10th May 1965

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what changes have been made since 15th October, 1964, in the composition and staffing of the Government's pool of cars, and in the public cost thereof.

Photo of Mr Charles Pannell Mr Charles Pannell , Leeds West

Since 15th October the Government Car Service fleet has increased by 10 to a total of 381 vehicles, of which five are due for disposal. The number of staff has increased by 15 to 369. The annual cost is now £442,000 compared with £406,000. Of this about £10,000 of the increase is due to higher wages fixed by trade union agreements.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the increase is proportionate to the increase in the number of Ministers?

Photo of Mr Charles Pannell Mr Charles Pannell , Leeds West

I should say it is, but this is a trend which has been going on all the time. I could easily cite the figures for 13 years and show how they have gone up all the time. For instance, I notice that there were 18—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer the question."] I answer a question under the guidance of Mr. Speaker, not that of hon. Members opposite. This is not a matter on which hon. Members opposite should make implied charges that we are not so fastidious as were our predecessors. In 1952 18 cars were allocated, in 1959 28 were allocated. The present figure shows a trend.

Photo of Mr Reginald Paget Mr Reginald Paget , Northampton

Can my right hon. Friend say whether there is any other European country in which Ministers are not provided with a car and a driver?

Photo of Mr Charles Pannell Mr Charles Pannell , Leeds West

I cannot say whether there are any, but hon. Members who go abroad will see how much better members of other legislatures are treated compared with those in this country. There was a famous occasion when the right hon. Member for Hampstead (Mr. Brooke) led a delegation of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and had to borrow a car locally.