HC Deb 08 March 1920 vol 126 cc899-900
52. Mr. DOYLE

asked the Minister of Transport whether his attention has been called to the fact that the development of trade is being seriously retarded owing to the fact that there are not sufficient wagons available on the railways, and that the transport of goods by road has altogether ceased save that due to individual initiative, with a consequent congestion of perishable and other goods at railway centres and docks; whether he realises that this deadlock is largely the cause of high prices and shortage of many essential articles; and, in view of such a state of things, if he will reconsider the question of endeavouring to develop the transport of goods by road?


I am aware of the deficiencies in railway facilities, and the same are being remedied as rapidly as possible. The railways, however, are carrying a larger proportion of the goods traffic than they did before the War; and if the development of trade is being retarded the fault can hardly, be attributed to the railways. The emergency Government road services in connection with certain ports are only being withdrawn as private enterprise becomes able to meet the needs. The railway cartage facilities, supplemented by lorries obtained from the Government, are considered adequate for railway work. The second part of the question is a matter of opinion in which the hon. Member must form his own conclusions. With regard to the last part, I can add nothing to previous answers that have been given to the hon. Member on the same subject.