HC Deb 22 July 1897 vol 51 cc718-9

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade why the Report of the Board of Trade as to complaint of increased rates (which is embodied in the Board's recent Report of their Proceedings under the Conciliation Clause issued this month) contains no information as to the terms of the settlements which have been arrived at between the traders and the railway companies; and whether, having regard to the fact that Reports of the Board of Trade respecting the Conciliation Clause have always explained the terms of the settlements, and also to the impossibility of ascertaining the effect of the important Act of 1894 and the present position of the increased rates question in the absence of such information, he will see his way to rectify the omission by the issue of a Supplemental Report at an early date?


My hon. Friend is not quite accurate in stating that the Conciliation Reports "have always explained the terms of settlement." In the case of specific complaints under Section 31, as to one or two rates, it was sometimes possible to do so, but it is not possible to attempt anything of the kind with reference to the complaints filed under the Act of 1894. The Board of Trade received over 1,800 complaints of increased rates, couched in very general terms, not affecting a few specified rates, but in many cases the rates from the place where the complainant carried on business to the station of every town where he had a trade. To have endeavoured to give the terms of settlement of such cases would have involved a disquisition on many thousands of rates. The Board of Trade, after bringing the parties together, had very often to leave them to work out the details of settlement, and the Report states, as a rule, the ultimate action on the complaint in the terms communicated to the Department by the complainant himself.