HC Deb 27 July 1904 vol 138 cc1324-5

To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to representations on behalf of mining and commercial interests in the Gold Coast Colony as to the rates charged for the carriage of goods, and especially of machinery, upon the Tarkwa-Sekondi-Kumasi Railway; whether he is aware that the scheduled rates for classes 1, 2, and 3 on this line are 2s. 6d., ls. 8d., and ls. per ton per mile, while the corresponding rates on the Lagos and Sierra Leone lines are 9d., 6d., and 3d., or 9d., 6d., and 4d. per ton per mile respectively; and that the cost of carrying a fifty-stamp mill plant for 125 miles tan this railway would amount to £11,120; and whether, seeing that Government troops and stores are carried over this line at cost of conveyance only, he will state how this cost of conveyance is arrived at, and explain why the exception in favour of Government troops and stores is made; and whether he will cause further inquiry to be made with a view to such a revision of the present classification and schedule of rates as will be equitable to the several classes of traders using the railway.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Lyttelton.) The points raised by the hon. Member have been dealt with in letters sent by my direction on the 6th of November and 21st of March last to the London Chamber of Commerce, but it should be added that I am in communication with the Governor of the Gold Coast in regard to the manner in which the cost of conveyance should be arrived at, and that the question whether there is any ground for revising the present rates is receiving consideration. Extracts from the letters are appended.