Mr Albert Murray: I beg to move Amendment No. 8, in page 5, line 6, leave out paragraph (b). This is a straightforward Amendment. In Committee the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor), in one of his infrequent interventions—[Laughter]—criticised paragraph (b) on the ground that it would give the N.P.A. power to interfere unnecessarily in the internal arrangements which port boards will...
Mr Albert Murray: I beg to move Amendment No. 10, in page 7, line 38, leave out from ' account ' to ' the ' in line 39. In Committee the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) and my hon. Friend the Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) argued that the N.P.A. should be free to decide its own policies for training and education, something which had been mentioned in paragraph 681 of the First...
Mr Albert Murray: I beg to move Amendment No. 11, in page 8, line 15, at end insert: Provided that the Minister shall not give any such directions unless he is satisfied that the carrying on by the subsidiary of the activities or the retention by it of the part of the undertaking or the assets or the continuance of the loan or guarantee, as the case may be, is unnecessary for the proper discharge by the...
Mr Albert Murray: I am grateful to the hon. Member for putting that point becaus this is a complicated matter. I certainly lot him have an answer.
Mr Albert Murray: Previous estimates by British and French officials have indicated that the average daily flow could rise by 1985 to the order of 8,000 accompanied vehicles in both directions combined, and that peak flows in the same year could be of the order of 2,500 per hour in both directions combined. These estimates will be brought up to date in the final studies for the tunnel project.
Mr Albert Murray: I have no doubt that when we reach the point of final studies on the project, the figures will be brought up to date.
Mr Albert Murray: Not only do I remember the letters I have received from the hon. Member, but I remember those I have sent in reply to him. This is a much wider question and it will be covered by a later Answer.
Mr Albert Murray: I know the hon. Member has a high regard for my foresight, but even he will not expect me to give an answer today covering the month of March. However, the provisional figure for reportable derailments on all railways in Great Britain during January and February this year is 49. Comparable figures for 1969, 1965 and 1960 were 77, 45 and 47 respectively.
Mr Albert Murray: Naturally, we hope that the improvement mentioned by the hon. Member will continue, but I think it is really too early to draw any conclusions.
Mr Albert Murray: Not without notice. Certainly, if possible, I will let my hon. Friend have the information that he requires.
Mr Albert Murray: As the Answer contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Mr Albert Murray: I assume that the hon. Gentleman is talking about assurances given by previous Ministers.
Mr Albert Murray: What was said was that the cost of administering the new licence system would be no higher than the cost of the present one. Fees for carriers' licences were last revised in 1957. Costs have increased considerably since then, and the enforcement effort has more than doubled.
Mr Albert Murray: None, Sir. An applicant can ask for a shorter period if he wishes.
Mr Albert Murray: It is a matter for the discretion of the licensing authority if an applicant asks for a shorter period. The fee represents only a small percentage of total vehicle operating costs.
Mr Albert Murray: That may well be the case. The Department has done as much as possible to publicise all aspects of the new operators' licences.
Mr Albert Murray: No, Sir. The operators have known for a very long time—since before the 1968 Act—what would be necessary. I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman's comment.
Mr Albert Murray: Yes, Sir. We have noted the concern expressed by the committee on the question of unpunctuality. The Railways Board fully recognises its management responsibility in this matter, and I am assured that it is making determined efforts to effect an improvement.
Mr Albert Murray: This is a matter of management for the board. It is, quite naturally, concerned about this, and is taking action to improve punctuality.
Mr Albert Murray: This is a matter of day-to-day management, and I feel that it is not my right hon. Friend's job to intervene.