16. Colonel BURN
asked the Minister of Transport if, as stated in the Report of the Railway Rates Advisory Committee, the charges on goods carried at owner's risk were advanced in 1918 by an average of 24 per cent., and if they now recommended an increase of 50 per cent.; is he aware that those increases will raise the rates on a 33-pound parcel in a 10-mile journey from 6d. to 1s. 8d., a total increase of 233 per cent.; and will he take steps to reduce this heavy increase without waiting for the Report of the general inquiry which, according to the Committee, may take a year or longer to complete?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of TRANSPORT (Mr. Neal)
The figures quoted by my hon. and gallant Friend are substantially correct, and presumably refer to the increases on parcels traffic carried by passenger train at owner's risk. These increases, which are of interim character, were made on the advice of the Rates Advisory Committee, and the Minister feels unable to sanction any modifications pending the report of the Committee on the general inquiry into the basis and classification of railway rates which is now proceeding.
Will the hon. Gentleman represent to the Minister in connection with the demand for the decrease of these rates that seven of the railway companies increased their dividends for 1919 over 1918?