HC Deb 12 December 1928 vol 223 cc2122-3

asked the Secretary for Mines if any agreement has been come to between the Government and the colliery proprietors whereby the collieries must pass on to their customers the reduction in railway freights given them under de-rating, with a view to increasing output in the iron and steel trade and reducing unemployment, or whether the collieries are at liberty to retain, as additional profit, these reductions?

The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Colonel Ashley)

I have been asked to reply. No such agreement has been made or is proposed. The Government's policy is to ensure that the rating relief to be accorded to the railway companies shall be passed on by the companies to those who pay the freight charges on certain selected traffics which pass by rail. In reducing the burden of transport charges upon selected traffics, the Government does not think it desirable or practicable to attempt to control the ultimate distribution of the benefit among the producers and consumers interested in the traffics embraced within the scheme of freight relief, but consider, as my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade pointed out in reply to the hon. Member for the Hallam Division (Mr. Louis Smith) on the 1st August last, that any consequential adjustments must be left to negotiations between the industries concerned.


Can the right hon. and gallant Gentleman say if the benefits that will come to the coal industry will be similar to those which will come to Cheltenham under the Local Government Bill?


Can the right hon. and gallant Gentleman tell us what has been the average reduction in prices under this freight relief?

Colonel ASHLEY

No, Sir. If the hon. Member will put down a question, I will endeavour to give him an answer.