57. Mr. KENNEDY JONES
asked the Prime Minister whether he proposes to set up an inquiry into the question of the future of the railways of this country; whether, in view of the labour denial of the accuracy of his statement of existing losses in running the railways, he will publish such evidence as there is in support of his statement whether his attention has been called to the demands for the return to pre-war fares, and, on the other hand, to the suggested drastic revision of goods rates in an upward tendency; and whether he can make any statement on these matters, and, in addition, indicate the length of time during which Government control of the railways is to continue?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
My hon. Friend raises points which cannot conveniently be dealt with in a reply to a question, but can be dealt with in connection with the Bill setting up the Ministry of Ways and Communications. As regards the cost of running the railways, the Government are now considering in what form the relevant figures can best be made public.
Does the right hon. Gentleman not think it would be desirable in view of the possibility of railway trouble, to set up now, instead of waiting for a moment of strife, a Committee of Inquiry as to the future of the railways?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
There will be no delay in dealing with that, but I do not think it is possible to come to a decision in time to affect the situation in the immediate future.
§ Sir C. HENRY
May I ask whether, when the Secretary of State for War makes a statement as to the intention of the Government to nationalise the railways, he does so with the authority of the Government?