Oral Answers to Questions — Transport Policy

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th May 1975.

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Photo of Mr Leslie Huckfield Mr Leslie Huckfield , Nuneaton 12:00 am, 7th May 1975

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will publish a White Paper on transport policy.

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I have no immediate plans to do so.

Photo of Mr Leslie Huckfield Mr Leslie Huckfield , Nuneaton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that one of the biggest difficulties facing the railway industry, public transport undertakings and the car industry is that they do not know their future rôle because we do not appear to have an overall transport policy? Will he accept that the only sensible, rational and, indeed, economic transport policy should be one based on the fact that each mode of transport should operate on a charging policy based on the economic, social and environmental costs which they all impose on the community? Is it not about time that we had a White Paper which roughly took that view?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I agree that we want as integrated a transport policy as we can have. I cannot accept that we do not have a transport policy at the moment, although I accept the view that matters in the transport world are changing rapidly. Indeed, we already have the help of the Socialist Commentary Study Group. There is an on-going study of various measures in the Department on all aspects of transport policy. The only reason why I do not hold myself to a White Paper is that until the on-going studies are completed it is not sensible to publish the results in a single document but rather in a number of separate documents.

Photo of Mr Marcus Fox Mr Marcus Fox , Shipley

The right hon. Gentleman must be aware that we have pressed the Government for a White Paper for some time. He must be aware that the present wasteful piecemeal system must be brought to a halt, and the sooner the better.

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

We had a number of years of Conservative Government with out any suggestion of their putting forward an integrated transpor0t policy. I do not dissent from the need for continuing studies in a rapidly changing situation. My only worry is whether to commit myself to a single White Paper. I prefer to see the results of the ongoing studies and then to consider, in the light of those, the most suitable method of publication.