HC Deb 20 April 1891 vol 352 cc921-2

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in his arrangements for new and improved steamer communications in the Western Isles and North of Scotland, he has acted on the statement in the Report of the last West Highlands and Islands Commission, which states— It is, however, so doubtful whether the institution of new routes of steamers would not interfere with existing routes, and it is so clear that Government would not be justified in subsidising one steamer if it had the effect of stopping another, that great care will be required in giving effect to this recommendation; and every effort should be made to secure the co-operation of the Carrying Companies now engaged in the West Coast Trade; and if some of such competing companies have been so conferred with, why not all?


The Government would much regret if new steamer services on the West Coast of Scotland should have the effect of inflicting any permanent injury on persons now engaged in the carrying trade in that district, and they will be glad to consider any representations or suggestions on the subject that may be made to them. The arrangement which will come into force on the 1st of next month is of a provisional character only, and it is open to any modification which may hereafter be found desirable. It is hoped that in the course of next year it may be found practicable to invite tenders from parties who may be willing to undertake the whole or any part of the services; but, as it was important to start the new services at once, this course could not be adopted at the present moment.