§ SIR MAURICE LEVY (Leicestershire, Loughborough)
To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the fact that, as one of the results of the recent combination of interests between the various railway companies, the Midland Railway Company and other companies serving Manchester have given instructions that as from the 1st October, 1907, the allowance made to the chief firms of public carters in Manchester in respect of the collection and forwarding of shipping traffic from Manchester are to be materially reduced; whether he is aware that such action on the part of the railway companies will deprive the public of the benefits of competition and enable the companies to obtain for themselves the uncontrolled monopoly of services outside their terminal stations; and whether the Board of Trade will take steps to prevent the railway companies from adopting this course.
§ (Answered by Mr. Lloyd-George.) I understand that the regulation of the allowances made to cartage and other agents is one of the objects of the arrangements between the railway companies referred to in the correspondence recently presented to Parliament (Cd. 3420). I shall be glad to consider any particulars of the reductions in the allowances at Manchester which my hon. friend is in a position to supply, but until I have examined them I cannot say whether the Board of Trade could take any useful steps in the matter,