§ MR. H. HOBHOUSE
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if he has noticed the statement in Friday's Times, that the French Railway Companies have, at the instance of the French Government, reduced by 25 per cent, the rates for hay and other cattle food; and if, in consideration of the serious scarcity of feeding stuffs now prevailing in parts of England, the Board of Trade will follow the example of the French Government by inducing the Great Western Railway and other Companies, who have recently raised their rates for the carriage of such goods, to reduce those rates by such an amount as shall substantially assist the farmer to procure the necessary food for his stock?
§ MR. MUNDELLA
I noticed the statement referred to, but the Board of Trade have no power to induce the Great Western and other Companies to reduce their rates for such a purpose as that suggested by the hon. Member. The French Government, as owner of nearly 2,000 miles of railways and as contributor to others, has powers of control which the State in this country does not possess.