Road Transport Activities
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By Our Special Parliamentary Correspondent Passenger Transport Bill Carrying Over.
IT is now definitely decided that the London Passenger Transport Bill should be carried over into the next Parliament. A special motion for that purpose provided that on any day in the next session a motion might be made by a Minister of the Crown, to be decided without amendment or debate, that proceedings on the Bill may be resumed at the stage at which it was suspended.
The Bill is awaiting consideration in Committee of the House of Commons, having been passed by the Joint Committee of the two Houses.
kl(-1N the report stage of the Supple mentarymentary Estimates of £7,000,000 for the Road Fund, Mr. Pybus, Minister of Transport, observed that there had been some confusion in the minds of members regarding this estimate for • the current' year and the figure of £7,800,000 which had been flied by the Government astha amdunt by which the Road Fund's.expenditure was to be reduced in the next financial year.
The £7,000,000 now, being discussed was not a cut, but a vote of money required to carry on road works. The £7,800,000 was the amount which had been fixed by the Government as the reduction for next year. The original amount for this year was £9,000,000. This was to be a loan from the Treasury, but now it would be a vote, and in the light of economy in highway expenditure now decided upon, it was hoped that £7,000,000 •would be
Humber Bridge Costs.
AQUESTION arose as to whether, if the corporation of Hull and its associates were willing to go forward with the Humber Bridge scheme, the Minister would provide his portion of the finance. Mr. Pybus said that was a purely hypothetical question.
He already had stated that, in regard to work and expenses incurred with the approval of the Ministry of Transport on a scheme which had been suspended, the department would bear its proportion of the cost, and that ruled in the case of the Humber Bridge. The report of the vote was agreed to.
Wages and Hours.
THE Minister of Labour was requested by Mr. Perry to state' the alterations in percentages in Salaries, wafles,'and hours in the Motor incliiStry during the two years ended .July 31st, 1931, and the nureber of agreements established under which provision was made that when dividends on ordinary shares reached 100 per cent., reductions of salaries or wages previously made should be restored or an increase on existing rates conceded.
Sir H. Betterton stated that he had no information as to salaries in this industry, but particulars of certain pro
visions operated as from July 6th last, in rates of pay for workpeople on overtime and night-shifts, and systems of payment by result, were given in the Ministry of Labour Gazette for July.
No other general changes in rates of wages and no alterations in normal weekly hours of work had been reported to the Ministry of Labour since July, 1929; as to the last part of Mr. Perry's question, he had no knowledge of any• such agreement.
Helping Shale Industry.
iurR. SHINWELL, the late Secre
• .111..tary for Mines, asked the President of rhe Board of Trade whether be had yet considered the quota proposal for the shale oil industry and with what result. Sir P. Cunliffe-Lister replied that he understood that when the late Government had before it proposals, including that for a quota. scheme, Scottish Ltd., informed the Government that if the mines, retort works and refineries of which notice of closing had been given were shut down, it would need heavy expenditure to reopen them.
That curtailment had been effected, and -he was advised that the introduction of the suggested quota scheme would not result in reopening closed mines and works, He was also informed that with the present duty on petrol and the prices of such fuel, there was no immediate prospect of further curtailment. Li these circumstances he was afraid he could not usefully pursue the matter further.
Elephant and Castle Scheme.
THE position of the Elephant and Castle improvement scheme in relation.. to the provision of employment having been raised, Mr. Pybus pointed out that the total cost of the scheme was £2,000,000, and of that three. fourths would have to be devoted to the purchase of property. That was not a scheme which he should regard with favour. He would be glad to expedite a decision in this matter.