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Merchandise Traffic (Railway Charges)

Volume 344: debated on Wednesday 1 March 1939

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52 and 53.

asked the Minister of Transport (1) whether he has now considered the memorandum handed to him on 3rd December, 1938, by the railway companies relating to railway charges for merchandise traffic; and, in view of the extreme urgency of the matter, whether he can now state whether the broad proposals which they have put forward are generally approved by him;

(2) whether, in view of the serious decline in railway receipts, and with a view to assisting this industry to maintain its efficiency in peace time, and in view of the wider responsibilities which would inevitably be laid upon it in the event of war, he will consider the immediate repeal of the existing statutory regulation of the charges for the conveyance of merchandise traffic by railway, together with the requirements attached thereto, including classification, publication, and undue preference, so that equality of conditions between all the various forms of transport should prevail?

I have referred the railway companies' proposals to the Transport Advisory Council, and am awaiting their report, which I hope to receive shortly.