§ 23. Mr. BARCLAY-HARVEY
asked the Minister of Transport the cost to the Ministry of Transport and to the railway companies, respectively, of compiling the statistics relating to railway traffics which usually appear four months after the period to which they relate; how many copies of these statistics are sold; and what purpose they serve?
I assume that my hon. Friend refers to the publication entitled "Railway Statistics." This document is issued monthly, usually about 10 weeks after the period to which it relates. I have no information as to the cost incurred by the railway companies, but I have no doubt that the bulk of the information contained in the returns would, in any event, be compiled by the companies for their own purposes. The cost incurred by my Department in the compilation of these statistics is estimated to be approximately £1,200 a year. This figure does not include printing. The average number of copies sold monthly is 250. The statistics in question are compiled by the railway companies and rendered to me in compliance with Section 77 of the Railways Act, 1921. The 1684 returns are reviewed and have been modified from time to time by agreement with the railway companies with the object of securing economy, and I am satisfied that their continued publication serves a useful purpose from the point of view of the railway companies themselves and of the various bodies who are concerned with railway traffics and charges and with the economic and efficient management of the railways.