HC Deb 19 March 1941 vol 370 cc142-3
13. Sir Patrick Hannon

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is in a position to make a statement on the result of recent investigation into the development of canal transport; whether he can state the number of barges now lying idle at various important centres where transport facilities are an outstanding necessity; and whether any special effort is being made to recruit and train crews for the navigation of canal traffic?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport (Mr. Montague)

The investigation by Mr. Frank Pick into the carriage of traffic by canal is being pursued energetically, and as a matter of urgency, but I am not yet in a position to say when it will be completed. The matters referred to by my hon. Friend are covered by the investigation, but I should like to make it clear that concurrently with Mr. Pick's inquiries all possible steps are being taken, by reconditioning of barges and other means, to enable the canals of this country to make their maximum contribution to the war effort

Sir P. Hannon

When will the report from Mr. Frank Pick be received?

Mr. Montague

I cannot answer that Question with any degree of accuracy, but I do not think it will be long.

Sir P. Hannon

Is my hon. Friend aware that this question has been neglected shamefully for years, and that it ought to be tackled with energy and rapidity?

Mr. Montague

Yes, Sir, I agree with you; but my hon. Friend will realise that the reconditioning of some canals, not to speak of barges, is an old story, and one of great importance at the present moment.

Mr. R. C. Morrison

Is Mr. Frank Pick's investigation intended to be of service in the present war?