HC Deb 29 July 1890 vol 347 cc1176-7

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that in the draft classification of merchandise traffic with proposed maximum rates, just issued by the Board of Trade for the Great Western and London and North-Western Railway Companies, the rate of conveyance for milk, including station and service terminals, and charges for empty cans, averages about twice the rate which these companies now charge, and more than double the rates which the Midland and Great Eastern charge; what is the reason for this great rise in the rates for the carriage of milk over existing rates, when there has been a reduction in the rates for many other commodities; why the return of empty cans is liable to a charge varying from 4d. to 8d. when at at present the Great Western only charges 2d. and the London and North-Western charges nothing; and what opportunities the representatives of dairy farmers will have of objecting to these rates before they become law?


I cannot accept the statements contained in the first and third paragraphs of this question as either accurate or complete; but at the present time it would be premature to enter into the details of the subject, because the Statutory Report to Parliament has not yet been made. When that Report is made, the representatives of dairy farmers will see precisely how the matter stands; and in the event of a Provisional Order being brought before Parliament next Session containing rates which are not satisfactory to them, they would have full opportunity of opposing those rates in the House, or before the Committee to which the Bill would be referred. But I would point out to the hon. Member that any rates proposed will be maximum rates, and that their allowance by no means necessarily involves any increase in the rates at present actually charged.