§ 64. Major Sir KEITH FRASER
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport if he is aware that much of the transport of heavy goods by road from Manchester to London via the Watney Street Road is cheaper per ton by road than by rail; and, seeing that this is putting an unfair charge on the local rates in these districts for the upkeep of roads which are largely paid for by the local ratepayers, who do not use the roads generally except with light vehicles, and seeing that no road can carry such heavy transport without having continually to be repaired, and that the local ratepayers are being heavily burdened on account of the unduly heavy vehicles being used on the roads, will he take steps to rectify this, and see that the railways are enabled to carry such heavy goods at the same cost as they can be carried by road: and, if not, will he give the reasons?
§ Mr. NEAL
I have no information which enables me to compare the charges for conveyance of heavy goods between 853 London and Manchester by road and by rail respectively, and in any case the Minister of Transport has no jurisdiction over such rates. It is now within the discretion of the railway companies to reduce their charges as they deem expedient, and it is also open to any trader or representative body of traders to make application to the Rates Tribunal for a reduction of railway rates under Sections 60 and 78 of the Railways Act, 1923. I would point out that commercial vehicles now pay licence duties which contribute directly towards the maintenance of highways used by them.