Passenger Transport Policies in County Areas

Part of Orders of the Day — Transport Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th May 1978.

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Photo of Mr John Ellis Mr John Ellis , Brigg and Scunthorpe 12:00 am, 17th May 1978

This is an interesting and important debate, and it is a pity that it is being held at such a late hour because there are vast implications. The remarks of the hon. Member for Welling-borough (Mr. Fry) were very relevant.

I am indebted to the Automobile Association for its brief, which has been most useful. Let me make one general point. I do not want to twist anybody's tail too greatly, but it is remarkable to hear the Tory Front Bench insisting that a Labour Government should make private enterprise insurance companies do something or another. I shall be interested to hear the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gow) on this subject. I think he will agree that this points to a failure of the free market economy since there appears to be a need to respond to something for which people will pay. If the insurance companies will not provide a service of this kind, perhaps the sensible thing which my Labour colleagues should do is to set up a nationalised insurance company to do the job properly right across the board.

It is a strange ideological position for the Tories to insist that the Government should make up for the deficiencies of the insurance companies. It is a sad day for private enterprise when those deficiencies are so bad that it takes them so long to respond to such a need. I think that is fair comment.