Consequential and Other Amendments

Part of ROAD TRAFFIC (DRIVERS' AGES AND HOURS OF WORK) BILL [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th March 1976.

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Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfries 12:00 am, 8th March 1976

I have looked at the proceedings and the amendments in Committee, and the Bill has been largely redrafted. I criticise the Minister for the shallowness of his reply to the Second Reading debate. There was no time limit on that debate, yet the part of the Minister's speech concerned with problems of the livestock haulage industry occupied only seven lines of print. This point cannot be shrugged off. There was no reason why he could not have taken half an hour more to deal with it.

I want to examine the problems that the Bill will create for the agricultural haulage industry and the road haulage industry generally. I want the Minister to deal in much greater depth with the effect of the Bill in view of the announcement of proposals last Thursday. In The Scotsman of 5th March there is a report by Mr. Michael Hornsby from Brussels which says, New proposals for the harmonisation of working conditions in the EEC's road haulage industry, which were announced here today by the European Commission, offer an important let-out clause to Britain and other member states which have pleaded inability to meet their treaty obligations. Later it says, The proposals also provide, however, for any member state to apply up until the end of 1977 for exemption from particular aspects of the new regulations provided that she can satisfy the Commission that implementing them would present real difficulties. As I shall show, there are immense difficulties. Before we contemplate approving this measure I shall want to know—[Interruption.] The Minister may laugh, but this is a very serious matter.