Oil Supplies

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th June 1979.

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Photo of Mr David Howell Mr David Howell , Guildford 12:00 am, 11th June 1979

I am obviously in close contact with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport about these matters. However, I deplore the hon. Gentleman's suggestion that motorists on the road are in all cases in some way inessential or a down-graded category.[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman was implying that there was an absolute priority and preference for public transport over private motorists. I deplore that suggestion. Many people who travel on the roads as motorists are doing vital work in the national interest and are helping our economy. I do not believe that on a 5 per cent. shortfall it would be realistic or fair to go around trying to draw the line between the private motorist—however vital his or her role may be—and public transport. There is a much more sensible approach, which is to ask those in public transport also to seek to make this small economy. Where they are in real difficulties, let them take the procedure that I have outlined, as some have done, and many have been helped.