E. H. B. Palmer writes ...
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Letter to an M.P.
Dear Member of Parliament,
• THIS letter is addressed to you
and to every other Member who holds his seat on a Tory ticket. Over 12 months ago, your party supported a Bill to increase the haulier's radius from 25 to 60 miles. The Bill was defeated because, as many of us considered, the majority in the House was on the wrong side.
The prospect of its reintroduction when the majority switched over was for many people a factor in deciding for whom to vote at the General Election. Many a Tory Member may be said to have gained his seat or increased his majority on trust.
No gesture has as yet been made to honour this, either by the individual or the party, and in -the meantime the robbing of private enterprise continues with impunity. This negative attitude on the part of those who have promised so much in the past and have given so little in the present, undoubtedly encourages the British Transport Commission and the Road Haulage Executive to deal more and more arbitrarily in the matter of permits.
As a private Member, do you (16 appreciate the facts and, if so, how does the dilatory attitude of your party line up with them?
The Transport Act, 1947, reduced the operation of private-enterprise road haulage from an unrestricted radius to that of 25 miles. This unrestricted radius had, in many cases, been the sole privilege that the full-time carrier enjoyed over the part-time carrier.
The Act provided for fewer than half a dozen logical exceptions and it introduced the granting of permits to those hauliers who wished to serve their customers beyond 25 miles. Unfortunately, it gave the granting of these permits to the R.H.E., a nationalized element against which private enterprise has to fight for its bread with both hands tied behind its back.
A licensing authority will grant a radius in excess of 25 miles to a limited carrier and everyone knows that this privilege can be enjoyed only at the pleasure of the Executive, which probably opposed unsuccessfully the decision in the traffic court.
He will also grant the continuation of a full-time carrier's licence, application for which still describes normal operation in excess of 25 miles, because this continuation is unopposed. There is no need for the R.H.E. to oppose it. The Executive still holds all the best cards.
Having worked this out, can you honestly say that such a situation has your approval? Can you honestly say that a payment on account to the tune of .60 miles is not gravely overdue? Do you not feel that there is a morally strong ease for the removal .of this two-edged sword from the grasp of the R.H.E.?
Here is as much a debt of honour as that which arises from any other element. What will you do about:it? .
Yours sincerely, A. VOTER.