§ MAJOR RASCH
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether complaints of increased rates made by the London and Tilbury Railway (from 12 per cent. to 45 per cent.) on manures and blue lime, were deposited with the Board of Trade in pursuance of the Railway and Canal Traffic Acts 1886 and 1894, on 19th May 1896; will he explain why, although nine months have elapsed, no proposal has as yet been made by the Railway Company; and whether the Railway and Canal Traffic Act gives the Board of Trade power to prevent such delay; and, if not, whether the Department will consider the possibility of applying for the necessary powers?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. C. T. RITCHIE,) Croydon
The complaint referred to by the hon. and gallant Member was received 1437 by the Board of Trade about the date mentioned. After correspondence with the traders and the London Tilbury and Southend and the Great Eastern Railway Companies, a meeting of the representatives of the various parties was held at the Board of Trade in November last. At this meeting it was admitted that the increase of rates complained of was occasioned by a dispute between the Companies as to the division of the rates, and it was understood that the two Companies would consider whether they could make some arrangement by which the increase would be removed. The Board of Trade are prepared at any time to give the traders the necessary certificate to enable them to take their complaint before the Railway and Canal Commissioners, who alone have power to decide whether the increase is reasonable; but the Board still hope the Railway Companies will agree to return to the old rate. I am not prepared to apply to Parliament for any further powers.