Car & Lorry Planning Act
- I like this. A skit on the Town & Country Planning Act. Substitute car & lorry with house.The Car and Lorry Planning Act of 1948
In 1947, a Town and Country Planning Act was passed. Since towns were now to be properly planned, and their means of transport were now publicly owned and properly controlled, it was argued that the production and distribution of motor vehicles should also be planned and controlled, and this was achieved with the Car and Lorry Planning Act of 1948.
The Act set up a system under which the production of cars was planned on the basis of past ownership patterns and no more than this number were allowed to be produced. No vehicles were allowed to be imported, and anyone wishing to order a new car had to wait until a manufacturer had obtained production permission from the local authority on their behalf. The application was considered by the local transport planners and by the local transport planning committee, which could refuse or grant permission. To make the system democratic, people could write in to say why someone should not get permission. Often the objection was based on the fact that the objector did not have a car and did not see why his neighbour should have one. Such people were called NIDDIES from the acronym NIDHI (Not If I Don't Have It).
As incomes rose and the population increased the demand for cars increased, but the number of cars permitted to be produced did not increase to the same extent. It was felt that allowing more cars would create unfair competition for bus and rail.
The price of cars rose substantially. It was argued by some that this was because of the constraint on production, but the transport planners thought that this was not so. The constraint on production did not affect the price; the increase in price was solely caused by the increase in demand caused by things like lower interest rates, so they said. And anyway car prices were not their concern. They were concerned with the real economy. It was for them to plan and for the market to follow.
People adjusted to the situation of course. They drove their old cars as long as possible. Indeed it was rare for a car in Britain to be scrapped if there was any possibility that it could be repaired. After road accidents cars were reconstructed which would have been written off as scrap elsewhere. Tourists visiting Britain were often overwhelmed with nostalgia when they discovered car models they had not seen for years in their own countries.
They also adjusted to the increase in the price of cars. People who had cars discovered that far from depreciating in value the price actually increased
over time. This increased the demand further as people without a car felt that they had to get a foot on the ownership ladder. Banks were willing to lend money on the security of the vehicle. Of course, as car prices rose people who wanted to buy cars found that they could not afford anything very large and so the cars built and sold in Britain became much smaller than elsewhere. The transport planners said that this showed that small cars were what people wanted in Britain. The British were different from foreigners who wanted large cars. Indeed, people had so much invested in their cars that they resisted any relaxation in the control of production because this would result in their cars losing value.
The justification for this came to be that the limitation of car production was in the interests of global sustainability, to reduce pollution and fuel usage. Some economists said that the stock of old cars in Britain polluted far more and were far less fuel efficient than the newer cars used elsewhere. But these critics were ignored, because after all, they were merely economists and what did they know...