HC Deb 11 March 1889 vol 333 cc1385-6

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware if it is a fact, as stated at a recent meeting of traders and merchants at Paisley, that since the passing of the Railway and Canal Traffic Act, railway companies, in some instances, have increased their rates 30 to 40 per cent by re-classification; and, whether there is any power under the new Act to prevent railway companies thus increasing their rates, and compelling traders to resort to the troublesome and expensive procedure set forth in the Act, so as to place them on the same footing as formerly?


I think the hon. Member might have referred to the provisions of the Act of last Session before putting these Questions. He will find in the 24th clause that the railway companies have to submit a fresh classification and schedule of rates to the Board of Trade, separating in the latter the terminal charges from the maximum rates, and stating distinctly what the terminal charges are for. No doubt, in a re-classification of the kind mentioned, rates may be made higher on some articles, just as lower rates may be charged on others; but the new classification of rates cannot come into force until they have been sanctioned by the Board of Trade and by Parliament. I shall be quite prepared to consider any applications that may be made to me for an extension of time to send in objections to the new classification and schedule of rates; but if that time is extended, it will be impossible for any Provisional Orders in the matter to become law during the present Session.