HC Deb 03 June 1942 vol 380 cc657-8
28. Sir John Mellor

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether, in view of the time required at railway booking offices to check Service warrants and the consequent delay in the issue of tickets generally, he will now authorise the Services to issue a form of warrant which shall be valid as a ticket?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport (Mr. Noel-Baker)

As I informed my hon. Friend in a reply to a Supplementary Question on 25th March, this suggestion had then been considered and rejected on the ground that it was not practicable. It is, however, being examined afresh, and I will let my hon. Friend know the result as soon as I can.

Sir J. Mellor

While I thank the hon. Gentleman for his reply, will he bear in mind that it takes about four times as long to check a Service warrant as to issue an ordinary ticket, and that in consequence many civilians either miss the train or else have to take a platform ticket and pay on the train, which practice itself delays the collection of tickets?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Yes, Sir. I am aware of the great difficulties caused by the large number of Service warrants which are now dealt with. Various plans for meeting the difficulty are now under consideration.

Mr. Shinwell

Does my hon. Friend appreciate that, apart from the effect on civilians, the men themselves often have to queue up at these booking offices carrying heavy kits, and that they really ought to be relieved from this burden?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I think that the inconvenience caused to the men and the public is very considerable.

Mr. Thorne

Would there be any difficulty in supplying a book of vouchers similar to the arrangement for Members of Parliament?

Mr. Noel-Baker

That is one of the plans under consideration, but the accountancy difficulties are considerable.

Mr. Stokes

Does accountancy really matter?

Mr. Mathers

Is my hon. Friend aware that the War Department issue vouchers for tickets to places where stations do not exist, and that it has been known for a voucher to be given for a bus journey from Thurso to Kirkwall?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I hope that my hon. Friend will send me details.