A.R.O. President on Haulage Representation
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THE President of A.R.O., Major H. E. Crawfurd, A.F.C., said at the a.g.m, of this body on October 25, that although this would probably be the last of such meetings and might be thought to partake of the nature of a funeral, there Was, in this instance, the certain hope of a glorious resurrection.
There was one thing he remembered. most vividly. That was the common talk amongst members of the Royal Commission on Transport, that whereas other interests and other forms of transport had their appropriate organizations and spokesmen to present well-prepered cases, there was nobody really competent to speak on behalf of the road haulier. This might have had most serious consequences. It was true to say that the efforts of a few on that Commission [Major Crawfurd was a member.—En.] had averted the grosser forms of Government interference with the industry, even at that date, but the lack of a representative association was undoubtedly a serious handicap.
It was this state of things that first the R.H.A. and, later, the A.R.O., had remedied. They had every reason to. be proud of what had been achieved in a comparatively few years. There was a marked contrast between the-way
in which, before the war of 1914-18, the Government had welcomed road transport, and the era which began around 1926, when, by heavy taxation and legislative interference, attempts had been made to hamper and restrict the industry. On two occasions Chancellors of the Exchequer, in introducing their budgets and imposing higher taxation on motor vehicles, had definitely stated that this was in ,view of the competition between road and other forms• of transport. It was in fighting this latter phase that A.R.O. had been most successful.
By and large A.R.O. had done a grand job of work. It had been in the van of every movement for advancing and improving the lot of the haulier, and had done much to open the eyes of the public as to the true position of the industry.
Now it was to merge with others and form a new Road Haulage Association. To many this name would be familiar and welcome, The test of the value of the new National Road Transport Federation will lie largely in the ability of the associations under the new conditions to maintain a progressive and forward spirit. So long as the bonds did not chafe, this result could be achieved.