Mr Ronald Atkins: May I strongly express enthusiasm for this inquiry, which has been requested by so many? Will those who have requested this inquiry have their views represented in the inquiry by the membership? Secondly, will the committee look especially into all the costs incurred because of the presence of lorries in city centres?
Mr Ronald Atkins: I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) on initiating a debate on such a splendid subject. He gave so many facts that there is not much left for the rest of us to say. I particularly liked his reference to putting animals into politics. He did not say"party politics ", just into politics—in other words, making the matter an election issue. If both...
Mr Ronald Atkins: I abstained on the Bill concerning the compulsory wearing of seat belts. I did not then give much thought to the arguments, and I suppose that I was influenced by the thought that in a small minority of accidents it might be better not to be wearing a seat belt. An example is when a car catches fire and there is the fear of being trapped for perhaps a split second or two before being...
Mr Ronald Atkins: We feel this on both sides of the House from time to time. We all kick out occasionally at something, even when we should not. It is a question of personal discontent. But, as has been said, our personal freedoms are not absolute, and they should not be absolute. If they are, they affect the personal freedoms of others. That is an old and well-known argument, and it is one on which I do not...
Mr Ronald Atkins: The hon. Member is not suggesting that we should belt up the House, is he?
Mr Ronald Atkins: I do not remember doing that.
Mr Ronald Atkins: asked the Secretary of State for Energy what he estimates the percentage cut in United Kingdom oil demand would be if the Central Electricity Generating Board replaced oil with coal.
Mr Ronald Atkins: It is intended, instead of using oil, to burn as much coal as possible? If so, is my hon. Friend satisfied that there is sufficient rolling stock on the railways to deal with the extra coal? There have been reports of a shortage.
Mr Ronald Atkins: Does not my hon. Friend agree that there is extra need for tourism to be extended from London and the Home Counties to some of the remote areas, especially those areas that have pockets of unemployment? Falmouth is an example, as indeed, are many parts of Cornwall, Scotland, the North-East and elsewhere.
Mr Ronald Atkins: Does my hon. Friend agree that his proposals are much fairer than the present system, will conserve petrol, and will lead to a large reduction in the kind of Government expenditure which the Opposition are always demanding?
Mr Ronald Atkins: It is not his responsibility.
Mr Ronald Atkins: Has my right hon. Friend noticed in the news today, and especially in the Financial Times, comment that we can easily make up the ground that was lost during the strike?
Mr Ronald Atkins: Are British Shipbuilders able to offer the same kind of credit that Japan was able to offer Pakistan for a large order for six ships, namely, 100 per cent. credit payable over 30 years?
Mr Ronald Atkins: asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he is satisfied with the state of public transport in Wales; and if he will make a statement.
Mr Ronald Atkins: Can my hon. Friend assure us that the central Wales line, the Cambrian coast line and the Shrewsbury-Cardiff lines will be kept open? If they are to be kept open, will my hon. Friend prevent them dying through lack of maintenance?
Mr Ronald Atkins: In view of the protracted nature of the EEC discussions, will the Minister take legal action to prevent those live exports that are against the law?
Mr Ronald Atkins: asked the Secretary of State for Energy what plans are currently under review for capital expenditure on new electricity generating plant; and how much is to be spent on nuclear power, coal-fired stations, oil-fired stations, and energy from renewable resources, respectively.
Mr Ronald Atkins: Does my right hon. Friend agree that there is need for an integrated policy which takes into account possible conservation measures and which steers away from the use of oil at power stations, bearing in mind that the use of oil increased last year compared to other sources of energy?
Mr Ronald Atkins: I share the feelings of the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch). I have been impressed by the way in which two victims in my constituency came to see me almost apologetically. They sought help but were not demanding it, though they had a right to demand it. Such people need others to fight their battles for them and I am glad that the compaign was established. It is one of the best of our...
Mr Ronald Atkins: I regard it first as a right. If one seeks to establish a right, it should be related to the amount of damage done. Secondly, there is the question of compassion. I believe that there should be some kind of assessment panel since we are no longer in such a hurry because interim payments are to be made. Such a panel could assess the needs of those affected and the amount of injury inflicted on...