HC Deb 01 November 1920 vol 134 cc20-1

(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Transport why he has completely suspended the steam packets service from Southampton to Cowes and back; if he is aware that these boats bring most of the meat and foodstuffs to the island, and also have a large stock of coal; if he is also aware that the suspension of these steamboats will necessitate the closing of a large number of works in the Isle of Wight; if he is also aware that the steamboat service between Lymington and Yarmouth and back has been entirely suspended, and that this unfortunate island, with a population approximating 100,000 inhabitants, is almost entirely cut off from the mainland; and if he can see his way to reconsider his decision to suspend the Cowes-Southampton service as well as the Lymington-Yarmouth service so as to bring the present means of communication to the Isle of Wight more on a par with other towns in Great Britain where the railway service has only been slightly curtailed.


I have been asked to reply. The Southampton-Cowes and Lymington-Yarmouth services have been temporarily suspended after consultation with the Ministry of Transport and the Food Ministry. It has been necessary to restrict all cross-Channel and island services in view of the urgent necessity in the present crisis of conserving supplies of bunker coal. I am informed by the Food Ministry that the Portsmouth-Ryde twice daily sailings fully cover the re- quirements of that Ministry. I regret I am not in a position to make any alteration at present.


May I ask why the Isle of Wight is more harshly treated than any ordinary station on the main line where the service is only curtailed slightly, and why the only entrance to the island is the port of Ryde?

Colonel WILSON

The Isle of Wight is not more harshly treated than any other island or any other part of the Kingdom; it has two sailings daily and all the essential services of the island are being maintained.


Why should the people who live in the far western part of the island, the people at Yarmouth, for instance, who wish to get to the mainland, have to come to Ryde? Why should the service to the Isle of Wight be curtailed in this way when the service is only partially curtailed in the case of any station in Great Britain?

Colonel WILSON

With respect to the communication from Yarmouth to the mainland, via Ryde, no doubt it is inconvenient to the people residing at Yarmouth, but the inconvenience they are suffering is no greater, in fact it is less, than other people have been suffering elsewhere


Is it not a fact that the most harshly treated island is the Island of Lewis, where the service is three times a week, compared with six times a week for the last 40 years? This is the new-world that you have given to the Island of Lewis.