HC Deb 10 February 1949 vol 461 cc533-5
53. Mr. Lipson

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if in view of the fact that the railways have been nationalised, he will provide Members of Parliament with a pass between their constituencies and London, and so save the time, labour and paper involved in the present practice whereby a ticket has to be obtained for each journey.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

No, Sir, I do not consider that the savings mentioned would justify the extra cost to the Exchequer of such an arrangement.

Mr. Lipson

Can my right hon. Friend say how it would involve any additional public expenditure in view of the fact that the railways are nationalised, and that any profit would go to the State and any loss would be made up out of public funds?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

That is the error into which the hon. Gentleman has fallen. Railway deficits, if any, do not fall on the, Exchequer.

Mr. Lipson

Will the right hon. Gentleman say on whom they do fall?

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House whether there has been any change in comparative prices of season tickets and ordinary return tickets since the railways were nationalised?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will put down that question, I shall be happy to answer it.

Mr. Bellenger

Is my right hon. Friend aware that season tickets are already issued to Members of this House who care to apply for them at least for a distance of 25 miles away, because I, personally, used to have a season ticket when I travelled up frequently from my home to Parliament.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

That, of course, is true, but to make it worthwhile and not an extra charge, it is essential that hon. Members should travel at least four days in any one week. That is necessary in order to make the issue of a season ticket an economic proposition.

Mr. Cecil Poole

Would the Minister give consideration to the practice which is being followed in the take-over of undertakings whereby an average over a number of years is taken? Would he consult with the Transport Commission and try to arrive at a figure which represents an average amount paid for hon. Members travelling and then allow the issue of a season ticket, or some form of annual ticket, on that basis without any loss to the Transport Commission or any charge on the Treasury?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

That is an interesting suggestion, but it has nothing to do with the Question on the Order Paper.

Mr. Wilson Harris

Since any hon. Member can travel as frequently as he likes to his constituency by filling up forms, what possible difference would it make, except extra convenience, to give him a permanent pass?

Mr. John Lewis

In view of what is obviously a widespread feeling in the House that Members of Parliament should have season tickets—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—would my right hon. Friend look at this matter once again?

Mr. Emrys Roberts

Can the Minister say whether he has in fact asked the Transport Commission whether they would issue a season ticket at a special rate? If he has not, would he be prepared to approach them on this matter?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

This matter has been gone into on more than one occasion, and fairly recently, and I see no reason why I should again approach the Minister of Transport to discuss this matter in view of the facts which are obvious, or should be obvious, to hon. Members.