§ 27. Mr. STRANGER
asked the President of the Board of Education, as representing the Minister of Agriculture, whether, in view of the fact that railway rates are still 75 per cent. above those obtaining in 1914 and that farmers are obtaining only pre-war prices for some of their crops, His Majesty's Government intends taking any and, if so, what steps to ensure the reduction of railway rates for farm produce?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of TRANSPORT (Lieut.-Colonel Moore-Brabazon)
I have been asked to reply to this question. The hon. Member appears to be misinformed, and I would remind him that the general percentage increase in the railway rates 497 for the carriage of agricultural produce was reduced as from the 1st May, 1923, from 75 per cent. to 50 per cent. The Government has no control over the rates made by the railway companies, but under the Railways Act, 1921, it is open to traders or representative bodies of traders to apply to the Railway Rates Tribunal for a reduction of the existing rates or any of them.
§ Mr. STRANGER
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the answer which is invariably given is that the wages paid to the railway workers are too high?
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE-BRABAZON
As the hon. Member is no doubt aware, the Railway Rates Tribunal is almost a judicial body, and cannot be influenced by anybody.