HC Deb 08 January 1942 vol 377 cc37-9
74. Major Lloyd

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport what representations he has received from business and commercial organisations in Glasgow and the West of Scotland protesting against the drastic curtailment of sleeping-berth accommodation between Glasgow and London; and what steps he is proposing to take to alleviate the position?

76. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he is aware that the reduction of sleeping-car accommodation is causing many business men in the North of England and Scotland to spend two days travelling which formerly could be done at night; and whether he will reconsider his decision, in view of the loss of time and production resulting from the reduction of sleeping accommodation?

Colonel Llewellin

Representations have been received from seven Chambers of Commerce in Scotland and from the Merchants' House of Glasgow to the general effect that, while they recognise the national need which has occasioned the reduction of sleeping car facilities, the claims of business men to a fair share of the berths available should have consideration. My Noble Friend is anxious to ensure a fair distribution of the limited accommodation among all classes of persons necessarily travelling on urgent and important Government business, and he has arranged that any such person may apply to the Government Department concerned in the business, and that Department will, if it supports the application, request the Ministry of War Transport to reserve a berth.

Sir C. MacAndrew

Will my right hon. and gallant Friend inquire at the Central Station, Glasgow, and find out how many berths which had been booked by Government Departments the night before last, and on previous nights, were not used?

Colonel Llewellin

We are certainly checking up on that. We do not want to book berths for anybody who does not intend to use them.

Commander Agnew

Will my right hon. and gallant Friend give an assurance that in any re-arrangement of available berths, there will be kept in mind the position of naval personnel who have to keep watch at sea?

Colonel Llewellin

We hope to guarantee accommodation for naval personnel who have attained a certain rank, and I regret to observe that my hon. and gallant Friend has not yet attained that rank.

Major Lloyd

Can my right hon. and gallant Friend say whether this action has been taken with the full approval of the L.M.S. or whether it is not a little arbitrary on the part of the Ministry?

77. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether first priority for sleeping-berths on the railways is given to Members of Parliament travelling in connection with their Parliamentary duties; and whether he is aware that in the past Members have been refused berths whilst minor officials have had accommodation allocated?

Colonel Llewellin

A note was circulated by the Whip's Office to Members on 11th December, and I am sending my hon. Friend a copy in case he has not already received one. I am not aware that, since 15th December last, when the new arrangements came into force, any Member who was entitled to a berth under the arrangements set out in the circular has been passed over in favour of an official, but if my hon. Friend will let me have particulars of any case I will look into it.