HC Deb 06 December 1950 vol 482 cc342-5
23. Mr. Keeling

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the official report on the Nigerian Railway by a British railway official, which states that engine failures in proportion to mileage were four and a half times greater in 1949 than 10 years earlier, and that repair output had declined by more than half; if he will state whether this deterioration has continued in 1950; and what are its causes and the proposed remedies.

Mr. J. Griffiths

The causes are fully set out in the report itself, in paragraphs 63 to 71 and 134 to 163. In recent months the supply of spare parts has considerably improved, and there has been a small improvement in the figures of repair output and engine failures over the past year. In so far as the position is due to technical inefficiency and low output in the workshops, the Nigerian Government and railway administration are making vigorous efforts to effect remedial measures.

Mr. Keeling

As this report, which reveals a deplorable situation, has not been published in this country, would the right hon. Gentleman consider giving a full reply to my Question in the OFFICIAL REPORT? Is he aware, for instance, that one of the main causes which the British official found was the dreadful decay in discipline?

Mr. Griffiths

I will consider whether a statement can be made in the OFFICIAL REPORT, but it would be very long. I appreciate the point of the second part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question. Consultations are now taking place between the Government and the trade unions, whose aid we are seeking to remedy some of these matters.

Mr. Harrison

Will the right hon. Gentleman, in judging this position, bear in mind the considerable shortage of both locomotives and locomotive parts not only in this particular part of the world but also in this country?

Mr. Griffiths


Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Would not the simplest way be for the right hon. Gentleman to publish the report in question?

Mr. Griffiths

I think that the report can be made available. If it is not already available in the Library, I will see that it is made available.

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