HC Deb 18 March 1889 vol 334 cc40-1
MR. WATT (Glasgow, Camlachie)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, under the powers conferred by the Railway and Canal Traffic Act, upon the Commissioners, upon application to review the action of railway companies who had raised their rates during the passage of the above Act, and prior to its coming into operation, a case is now being heard before the Commissioners; and whether it is a fact that certain railway companies have in some cases increased their rates subsequent to 1st January last; and, if so, whether it is the duty of the Board of Trade to see that no contravention of the Act takes place?


I have communicated with the Registrar to the Commissioners and am informed that there is no such case before the Commissioners. In two cases only have the Board of Trade received information of increase of rates subsequent to the 1st of January last. If any such increase is made without the giving of the prescribed notice, the company making it is liable to a penalty of £5 for each offence. Any question or dispute involving the legality of any toll, rate, or charge, or portion of a toll, rate, or charge may be brought before the Commissioners, who have jurisdiction to hear and determine the same under section 10 of the Act, and under section 31, whenever any person receiving or sending goods by any railway is of opinion that the railway company is charging him an unfair or unreasonable rate, such person may complain to the Board of Trade, who will thereupon endeavour to settle the matter amicably. The operation of clauses 10 and 31 is not suspended pending the settlement of the maximum rates under section 24.


May I ask whether the 58th clause of the Act confers retrospective powers on the Commissioners only in cases where litigation was pending prior to 1st January last?


The hon. Member has given me no notice of this question.