HC Deb 14 June 1920 vol 130 cc863-5

asked the Minister of Transport whether it is the intention of the railway companies to further increase passenger and goods rates on the railways, in view of the recent further increased wages to the railwaymen; and if he can make any general statement on the subject which will assure the public that there will be no increase during the forthcoming holiday season?

73. Colonel NEWMAN

asked the Minister of Transport whether any decision has been come to as to the raising of railway fares to the travelling public; and before the decision was arrived at was evidence sought or consideration given to the serious effect of a further rise to those of the public who use the railways constantly in connection with their business or profession?


Increased cost of labour and material will necessitate a further increase in railway charges in the immediate future. By statute this can only be determined after investigation by the Railway Rates Advisory Committee. I regret I cannot undertake to defer the operation of any decision then come to. State subsidy to the railways is generally agreed as most undesirable, and that is the alternative.

Colonel NEWMAN

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the last part of my question as to the serious effect of a further rise to the business public?


A further increase of wages to the men has not yet been approved by the Government. There has been a Report of the National Wages Board. As to the increase in other costs, that is obviously a matter which one can hardly consult the public upon.

Colonel NEWMAN

Are the fares to the public going to be raised?


That will depend on the advice which I obtain from the Advisory Committee, on which the public are represented.


Will this House have anything to say in the matter?

23. Mr. A. SHORT

asked the Minister of Transport whether his attention has been drawn to the high freightage charges on dried milk; whether he is aware that the charges on dried milk exceed those for ordinary wet milk to the extent of 80 per cent. in the case of large consignments and 130 per cent. in the case of small consignments; and, in view of the fact that numbers of local authorities are distributing large quantities of this necessary commodity in the interest of child welfare, if he will consider the advisability of reducing these charges to the extent of placing it in the same category as fresh milk?


My attention has previously been called to the rates on dried milk fixed under the recent revision. The Rates Advisory Committee, appointed in accordance with Section 21 of the Ministry of Transport Act, are at the present time considering a systematic revision of all railway rates and charges, and until their report is received I do not consider it advisable to make any alteration in the present charges on particular commodities.

72. Major BARNES

asked the Minister of Transport what is the revenue for the five months subsequent to the imposition of increased railway rates in January last; and what is estimated to be the total revenue for 12 months' working?


The latest figures available for months subsequent to the 15th of January, when the increased goods rates took effect, are those for February and March, which have already been published. The gross traffic receipts for the financial year 1919–20, were £202,568,762, of which about £10,000,000 is estimated to be due to the increase in goods rates.