§ 25. Sir R. HAMILTON
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate has been made of the total annual sum that will accrue to the benefit of shipping companies in Aberdeen, by way of de-rating; and if any arrangement has been made with the shipping companies operating from the port that will ensure the benefits so obtained being passed on to the community by way of reduced freight charges?
§ The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Colonel Ashley)
I have been asked to reply. The hon. Member will observe from Clause 113 of the Local Government Bill that it is intended that harbour 2795 authorities shall pass on their rating relief by way of rebates from or reductions in their charges, but I am not in a position to frame any estimate of the share of the benefit which will in this way accrue to shipping companies. With regard to the last part of the question I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on the 12th December to the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Sir W. Preston), of which I am sending him a copy.
§ Sir R. HAMILTON
Can the right hon, and gallant Gentleman say if there is any method by which the Government can be assured that such relief as has been granted will in fact be passed on?
§ Colonel ASHLEY
No, Sir. The attitude of the Government is that those paying the dock dues should receive the relief.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
Are we to understand from the reply of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that it is the intention of the Government that any benefits derived from de-rating will be handed on to the consumer?
§ Colonel ASHLEY
If the hon. Member will raise his point when Clause 113 comes under discussion, he will receive a reply.