25. Mr. T. THOMSON
asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that the stocks of finished iron and steel held by works in the North-East Coast area amounted to 90,000 tons on 6th February, as compared with 70,000 tons at the end of December and 30,000 tons at the end of June, 1919; and whether he can induce the railway companies concerned to adopt a three-shift system of working, in order more adequately to cope with this traffic?
§ Mr. NEAL
I beg to refer the hon. Member to the reply given on the 12th instant to a question asked by the hon. Member for Consett upon the same subject. I am making inquiries as to the second part of the question, but it must be understood that, unless traders to whom steel is consigned adopt similar methods of working in unloading the traffic, the available supply of wagons is, not necessarily increased by the railway companies working three shifts.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that when representatives of the North-East Coast met the directors of the Railway Company on the 5th of this month they got an assurance from the directors that everything possible was being done, and that, notwithstanding that, the stocks on the North-East Coast are increasing threefold; and will the hon. Gentleman see that attention is given at once to this matter, otherwise a large number of works on the North-East Coast will be standing idle next week?