Mr Albert Murray: The present policy envisages 11,000 route miles, of which 8,000 will carry passengers. In each case the figure is about 3,000 more than would have resulted from the Beeching proposals. The system of grants for unremunerative passenger services ensures that socially necessary services are kept open. The Government are paying nearly £60 million a year to keep open socially necessary services.
Mr Albert Murray: Under our policy we are keeping open some 3,000 more route miles than would have been kept under the policy of the previous Government.
Mr Albert Murray: No, Sir. We have no evidence which suggests that such a requirement would reduce road accidents.
Mr Albert Murray: We are aware of the Optical Information Council's findings, but the unit did most of its work at the kerbside and it has not taken a random sample. The results of the eyesight test in the driving test are very different, but we welcome anything which encourages those with poor eyesight to do something about it.
Mr Albert Murray: No doubt we can look at this, but the law on the matter is quite clear. It is an offence for anyone to drive if he cannot at the time meet the appropriate standard.
Mr Albert Murray: No, Sir. There would be no advantage, and several practical disadvantages, in my hon. Friend's suggestion.
Mr Albert Murray: I am not certain about all that. The first practical difficulty is that vehicle excise duty is standard according to the class of vehicle, while insurance premiums vary considerably with the driver concerned.
Mr Albert Murray: No, Sir. This is not an appropriate matter for a general direction.
Mr Albert Murray: There are certain limited concessions that the railways allow, such as the booking of reserved seats in trains which do not normally have reserved seats.
Mr Albert Murray: I will pass on the observations of the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) to the Railways Board.
Mr Albert Murray: Yes, Sir.
Mr Albert Murray: Yes, Sir. Vehicles carrying horticultural produce are subject to the same loading regulations as other goods vehicles, and we see no reason to change this.
Mr Albert Murray: No evidence has been presented to us that the regulations are causing difficulties. [Interruption.] I cannot say any more than that. I am certain that if the hon. Gentleman can produce some evidence he will send it to us.
Mr Albert Murray: This is evidence of the Opposition's rotten attitude on the Transport Act. If vehicle operators are finding difficulty with the plating regulations, it may well be that the vehicles were overloaded before the introduction of the Act.
Mr Albert Murray: Approval was given a year ago to the Railways Board's proposal to invest £21 million in 836 new coaches for the longer Southern Region routes including the Portsmouth line. New stock is already being brought into use on this line. The Board has not submitted to my right hon. Friend any proposals for the redevelopment of Portsmouth and Southsea station.
Mr Albert Murray: I have no doubt that Southern Region will take note of what my hon. Friend has said.
Mr Albert Murray: The hon. Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge (Mr. Stainton) tried to make some of my speech for me, but I hope that he will not mind if I go over some of the points he thought I would make. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) started off with the " electionitis " that most of his colleagues seem to have. It should be pointed out that whenever a General Election takes...
Mr Albert Murray: I am about to point out why we do not think that is necessary. If at some point in the dim and distant future a Conservative Government were returned, I am certain that they would not have had in their election manifesto the promise that they would hold public inquiries every time they passed an Act of Parliament. The hon. Member spoke of the word " substantial ". What does it mean? To...
Mr Albert Murray: I have no doubt about it, but being in the middle of the Manchester Ship Canal is worse than being in the middle of the road. The hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) seemed to think that the N.P.A. and the people working in the docks and ports would not want success, but that is far from the truth. My hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Exchange (Mr. Will Griffiths) made a valid point when...
Mr Albert Murray: Did the Conservative Party support that Measure?