HC Deb 21 July 1879 vol 248 cc852-3

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether he is aware that the Railway Companies of this Country have been in the habit of giving preferential rates in favour of American over home produce; that the charge of conveying American meat was 25s. per ton, and that of English meat 50s.; and, whether the Railway Companies have any legal right to encourage foreign imports by this preference and advantage, over home-grown meat and cereals?


The Board of Trade have no official knowledge or means of ascertaining what are the actual rates charged by Railway Companies for American produce, or, indeed, any other goods they may carry over their lines. With regard to the last part of the Question, the hon. Baronet will, I am sure, see that, important as it is, it is not a matter upon which we can give an authoritative opinion. The hon. Baronet is aware that there are statutory provisions on the subject of undue preference and unequal treatment with regard to any description of traffic to be found in the Railways Clauses Act, 1845, 8 Vict. c. 20, the Railway and. Canal Traffic Act, 1854, 17 & 18 Vict. c. 31, and the Regulation of Railways Act, 1873, 36 & 37 Vict. c. 48, and that parties aggrieved have their remedy before the Railway Commissioners, who were specially appointed to carry the two last-mentioned Acts into effect.