§ 19. Mr. WATT
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether it is his intention to allow the railway companies to raise their passenger fares in the immediate future; if so, will he say whether legislation is necessary before third-class fares can be raised, in view of the statutes which insist on a certain number of trains being run at the fare of a penny a mile?
As regards the first part of this question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave on Wednesday to a question asked by the hon. Member for Mile End. As regards the second part, the Board of Trade are already empowered by a Regulation under the Defence of the Realm Acts to modify any statutory requirements with regard to the maximum amount of passenger fares.
§ Mr. HOGGE
Can my hon. Friend say whether the raising of the fare is not in the nature of an obstacle 1817 to those people who find it necessary to travel; is it not the case that the raising of fares is to prevent unnecessary travelling and could not the Board of Trade arrange that those who find it necessary to travel can do so at the usual fare?
The hon. Gentleman has correctly stated the purpose we have in view, that is to restrict travelling. I am aware that there are a number of people who must travel for the purpose of business, and that is a point which is receiving consideration.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Has the Government taken advice as to whether this particular Regulation is ultra vires?
It is not expected that there will be any additional money raised out of these fares. We contemplate a loss.