§ MR. LOUIS SINCLAIR (Essex, Romford)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the Great Eastern Railway Company will convey a piano weighing 7 cwts. 7 lbs. from Germany to Cardiff for 43s. 4d., whereas the London and North-Western Railway Company charge 57s. 9d. for carrying a piano weighing 5 cwts. 2 qrs. from London to Cardiff; and also that the through freight rate for butter from Rotterdam to Cardiff is 43s. 4d. per ton, while the railway rate from Parkeston to Cardiff is 46s. 8d. per ton, and whether he will grant an inquiry into the whole question of railway rates as operating to the advantage of the foreign trader.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
The Board of Trade have communicated with the Great Eastern Railway Company as to the rates referred to, and are informed that the company have no through rate for pianos from Germany to Cardiff, and that, whilst the rate for butter from Rotterdam to Cardiff is 43s. 4d. per ton as stated, the rate from Parkeston to Cardiff is 35s. per ton, and not 46s. 8d. A Committee appointed by the Board of Agriculture is already making inquiry whether preferential treatment is accorded by railway companies to foreign farm, dairy, and market-garden produce as compared with home produce.