HC Deb 31 May 1933 vol 278 cc1874-5

asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that the steamer fares to certain of the Clyde holiday resorts and of the Western Islands of Scotland are still 100 per cent. dearer than pre-War, and that no cheap holiday or weekend fares are granted to those places; and whether he will take steps to ensure that places accessible by steamer are treated similarly to places served by the railways, and that no hardship is caused to such places by reason of the monopoly of the means of access to them?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

No, Sir. From information furnished by companies operating services on the Clyde and to the Western Isles, I understand that the fares are not generally so much as 100 per cent. in excess of those charged before the War. My hon. Friend has no con- trol over the fares charged by the companies operating services on the Clyde, but I am informed that they were on a very low basis before the War and are now 50 per cent., in the case of single fares, and 75 per cent. in the case of return fares, over the pre-War level. In the circumstances the companies are not prepared to put reduced fares into force on their steamers. In the case of Messrs. MacBrayne's services, the fares were readjusted as a condition of the new mails contracts made with the company in 1928. The hon. Member will realise that traffic to and from the Western Isles is not sufficiently heavy to warrant the cheap facilities which may be commercially practicable where dense traffic is available.


Is the hon. Member not aware that the Government have control over these steamers, particularly the MacBrayne steamers, as they carry the mails and are subsidised by the Government? They have not come down in the amount of their fares in keeping with the railway company, and will he not use his influence with the Government to see that the poor folk in the outer islands get the facilities which were guaranteed when this contract was given?

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

I can assure the hon. Member that attention is being directed to the matter.