§ MR. RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN (Islington, W.)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade what progress has been made with the determination of the schedule of maximum rates and charges of the Birmingham Canal; and whether the schedule can be dealt with by Parliament next year?
§ MR. SMITH-BARRY (Hunts, S.)
had notice of the following question: To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether legislation in regard to the rates and tolls of Canal Companies is so far advanced that it is likely to be brought before Parliament in this or the next Session?
§ *SIR MICHAEL HICKS BEACH
Perhaps the hon. Member for Huntingdon will allow me to answer his question at the same time. Although much progress has been made with the inquiry into the schedules of rates and tolls of the six principal Canal Companies, including the Birmingham Canal, it will not be possible that the inquiry can be so advanced as to enable a Report to be presented within the probable length of the present Session. Under these circumstances, as the law stands, it is doubtful whether legislation could be introduced next Session, but, looking to the advance which has been made in the knowledge of rates, I think the Board of Trade should now be empowered to introduce a Provisional Order at any time after they have presented a Report to Parliament, and I propose to introduce a short Bill of one clause to give effect to this suggestion. Should this Bill become law, Provisional Orders could probably be introduced next year.