HC Deb 21 March 1950 vol 472 cc1749-50
32. Brigadier Clarke

asked the Secretary of State for War what is the value of Government stores and supplies, the property of his Department, that have been lost in transit on the railways each year since the railways were nationalised.

Mr. Strachey

The value of War Department stores and supplies, lost in transit on the railways each year since the railways were nationalised, is not available without lengthy research, but test checks in 1948 and 1949 indicate that losses are of the order of £5,000 to £10,000 a year. In 1947 (before nationalisation) a test check showed that losses amounted to some £20,000 a year.

Brigadier Clarke

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that before nationalisation these losses were borne by the railways and that now they are borne by the War Department and the State? Further, would he see that the loss is now debited to the railways and credited to the War Department?

Mr. Strachey

I am aware that before nationalisation the losses were debited to the railways, and I am also aware that the losses after nationalisation are debited to the railways.

Mr. Mitchison

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the first Report of the Transport Commission shows an improvement in these matters, both as regards civil and public property?

Mr. Strachey

Certainly, Sir. In this case the loss was halved.