§ MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the North British Railway Company have advanced their rates on certain classes of merchandise from 30 to 50 per cent. between Kirkcaldy and the following places—namely, Burntisland, five miles, from 5s. to 9s. 2d. per ton; Cupar Fife, 18 miles, from 8s. 9d. to 12s. 1d. per ton; Dumbarton, 73 miles, from 15s. l0d. to 23s. 4d. per ton; Haddington, 43 miles, from 12s. 6d. to 16s. 3d. per ton; and Musselburgh, 31 miles, from 9s. 2d. to 13s. 9d. per ton; whether he is aware that, in spite of repeated promises to revert as nearly as possible to the old rates, the increased charges are still in force; and whether the Board of Trade can take any steps to put an end to these 1060 increased charges upon the trading public?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. MUNDELLA, Sheffield, Brightside)
The Board of Trade communicated with the Railway Company on the subject of the hon. Member's question, and in reply the following telegram has been received from the General Manager:—Class 3 rates mentioned in hon. Member's question correct, but three of the distances understated—Burntisland being six miles, Haddington 63, and Musselburgh 42. The increases shown were made solely to remove inequalities, and all the new rates mentioned are less than maxima by from 4 to 28 per cent. Goods traffic at Kirkcaldy at new rates, taken as a whole, works out to practically same as at old rates—difference being only one-tenth of 1s. per cent. increase.The Board of Trade have no power to compel the Company to revert to the former rates; but any interest that feels itself aggrieved can avail itself of the Conciliation Clause (Clause 31) of the Railway and Canal Traffic Act, 1888.
§ MR. DALZIEL
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the North British Railway successfully opposed a rival scheme on the express condition that their rates would not be increased, whereas, in fact, they have increased their rates 50 per cent.? Does he not think that this is a case in which he should interfere?
§ MR. DALZIEL
; Will the right hon. Gentleman be prepared to assist in any inquiry if appeal is made?