HC Deb 04 December 1950 vol 482 c21
67. Mr. G. Wilson

asked the Minister of Transport what are the arrangements referred to in paragraph 187 of the Second Annual Report of the Transport Commission whereby certain coal traffics, rail conveyed for relatively short distances, are carried at rates below those applicable to land sale tonnage.

Mr. Barnes

The traffic referred to was export coal moved to ports over distances less than the average for landsale traffic. The rates were less than the average for landsale traffic because the distances were less and, possibly, because of the existence of exceptional rates, the granting of which is a matter for the British Transport Commission, subject to the approval of the Transport Tribunal in certain cases.

Mr. Wilson

Is this a case of one nationalised industry being subsidised at the expense of another?

Mr. Barnes

No, Sir, I do not think so. The hon. Member is quite well aware of the general circumstances that prevail in dealing with traffics of this kind.

Mr. Harrison

Is my right hon. Friend aware that export coal traffic is one of the most valuable traffics that British Railways have, and that preferential rates are very often granted because of long-distance haulage?

Mr. McAdden

In view of the recent statement by the Minister of Fuel and Power, are we to understand that this form of traffic will in future cease?

Mr. Barnes

Not at all.