HC Deb 08 March 1948 vol 448 cc775-6
15. Mr. Pritt

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will introduce legislation prohibiting the practice hitherto adopted by the railways of contracting out of liability for negligence to passengers carried on workmen's tickets or on cheap fares.

3. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that no compensation is payable to passengers using a workman's ticket and others at reduced charges; and whether he will introduce legislation to remedy this defect.

Mr. Barnes

The Railway Executive and the London Transport Executive in accordance with the practice of their predecessors exempt themselves from their liability at common law in respect of injury, fatal or otherwise, to railway passengers holding workmen's tickets or certain tickets issued at reduced fares, only when the accident happens whilst the holders of such tickets are not travelling in a train or entering or alighting from a train. There is no present intention to introduce legislation on this subject.

Mr. Pritt

Does the right hon. Gentleman remember one or two very hard cases recently, as well as hard cases in other days, which have excited a great deal of public attention and indignation and would he consider doing very much better than private enterprise has done?

Mr. Barnes

I would remind the hon. and learned Member that railway companies have already gone a very long way to meet this difficulty, and those arrangements were confirmed, I believe, in 1936, when they decided not to plead their rights under common law.

Squadron-Leader Fleming

In view of that, is it not possible for the Government to press on with this great reform, because the position inflicts great hardship on the holder of a workman's ticket?

Mr. Barnes

I would suggest that hon. Members should study carefully the reply I have given. It is possible that they will find they have formed the wrong impression. The extent to which workmen and holders of cheap fares are now safeguarded by the decision of the railway companies is very considerable.

Mr. Pritt

Will the Minister accept my assurance that I understood his answer, but what I want to do is to get not three-quarters of a loaf, but the whole loaf?

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