§ 22. Mr. Evelyn King
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to reform the bus licensing laws; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Mr. King
As the hon. Gentleman's Department drafted a clause in a Bill as long ago as 1973, has it not now had ample time to consider the matter and is it not time that we saw something in legislative form? Can the hon. Gentleman guarantee that when legislation 573 appears it will bring badly needed help to smaller enterprises in rural areas?
§ Mr. Horam
The hon. Gentleman should know that we already have legislation in the Experimental Areas Bill, which will be useful in this respect. Any further legislation that we may be able to bring forward this Session will add to the general reforming tradition of successive Labour Governments in this respect, which contrasts markedly with the inaction of successive Conservative Governments.
§ Mr. Norman Fowler
The hon. Gentleman cannot get away with that last remark. If these plans are now so essential, why did the Labour Government in 1974 scrap the reforms to help rural transport that they inherited from the previous Conservative Government? Is it not clear that the Government have wasted four years in respect of rural transport? What they are now proposing is too little and too late.
§ Mr. Horam
We scrapped the Conservative proposals because they were wrong and would have destroyed many essential bus services. Anyone who considers the respective records of the various Governments over the years must conclude that Labour has made practical and sensible reforms, whereas the Conservatives have simply talked about ideology and have achieved nothing.