HC Deb 17 May 1944 vol 400 cc170-1
40. Mr. Hewlett

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he has yet decided on a policy regarding the future use of canals in the North of England which have been discarded by the railway companies hitherto controlling them.

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

If my hon. Friend is referring to the canals mentioned in the London Midland and Scottish Railway (Canals) Bill now before Parliament, I would remind him that, if in due course it is sent to a Select Committee of this House, it may be the subject of a Report by my Noble Friend. In these circumstances, I can make no statement on the subject of the Bill at the present stage. If, however, my hon. Friend has other canals in mind, perhaps he will be good enough to let me know.

Mr. Bowles

Has my hon. Friend any objection to the canals being used by the delegates to the forthcoming Labour Party Conference?

Mr. A. Edwards

In view of the fact that these canals have been allowed to get into serious disrepair and are no longer an asset to the railway companies but a liability, could not my hon. Friend's Department transfer them to the State at a nominal charge?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Each case varies. In some places I think there is no economic future for canals, but in other places there may be.