HC Deb 20 December 1915 vol 77 cc6-7

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that traders in the North of England are being put to inconvenience by the difficulty in obtaining delivery of their raw materials and coal, and the refusal, for periods of several days, of railway companies to accept goods for delivery in the country and at the ports of Liverpool and Manchester owing to congestion of traffic due to the shortage of labour; and will he state whether instructions have been given that no further recruiting of railway or transport workers shall take place in view of the necessity of maintaining the Home and export trades?


I am aware that traders are experiencing inconvenience at the present time owing to congestion at the ports and restrictions on the railways. The matter is constantly receiving attention, but I am afraid that some delays are unavoidable. Most occupations on the railways are already included in the list of reserved occupations, and this also applies to nearly all grades of transport workers, including carters and motor lorry drivers. As my hon. Friend is aware, the Prime Minister recently appointed an important Committee, of which Lord Inchcape is chairman, with wide powers to deal with port and transit difficulties.