asked the Minister of Transport what estimate he has made of the cost to public funds of providing compensation to redundant railwaymen in the five-year period commencing 1st January, 1969, and to lorry drivers made redundant as a result of the provisions of the Transport Bill.
Until the National Freight Corporation and other new bodies have been set up it is not possible to make a reliable estimate of costs likely to fall on British Railways or other authorities under Clause 130 of the Bill, which provides for compensation for loss of employment or worsening of position as a direct result of certain transfers or reorganisations under the Bill. The new licensing provisions in the Bill are not expected to reduce the number of driving jobs in the road haulage industry, as the industry will continue to grow.
Would the Minister not accept that there is a great deal of concern, and that his optimism that the numbers of jobs for long distance lorry drivers will not diminish is not shared elsewhere? If he is prepared to accept compensation for railwaymen, will he not accept the same principle for long distance lorry drivers?
No, the whole principle of the Bill and the quantity licensing provisions in it were based on the fact that we believe that the road haulage industry will continue to grow. We think it will grow up to 1975 by something over 10 per cent. and that there will be no difficulty in the lorry drivers getting jobs and no possibility of redundancies.
The hon. Gentleman knows that this was discussed at great length and he also knows that quantity licensing will come into effect only gradually and that any transfer of traffic to the railways will be more than offset by the total growth of the haulage industry.
Has my hon. Friend taken account of the condition that where freightliner trains are operating already the result may be that some long distance lorry drivers will be transferred to short distance work?
Of course, there may be a change in patterns of work, but the total tons mileage of the road haulage industry, as everyone concerned is well aware, is expected to increase over the next few years.