HC Deb 16 June 1953 vol 516 cc718-9
25. Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he proposes to take on the Report of the Cameron Committee on transport in the Highlands and Islands.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

I hope that an increase in the efficiency of the transport system, which was the Committee's first recommendation, will result from the passing of the Transport Act. The Committee's recommendations relating to transport charges are primarily matters for the British Transport Commission, who have still to prepare a scheme for railway freight charges.

Mr. Grimond

May I ask the Minister to bear in mind that it is over two years since this Committee reported, and the vital part of their Report was that dealing with the transport charges? As this is the basic problem of the whole of the Highland area, cannot the Government take steps to implement their recommendations?

Mr. Stewart

Their first recommendation was not that but that the transport system should be made more efficient. The point just made by the hon. Member is a matter for the British Transport Commission under the Transport Act.

Mr. Callaghan

May I ask the Minister under which Section of the Transport Act the proposals which he has in mind to overcome the problem in Scotland appear?

Mr. Stewart

If the hon. Member would do me the kindness of reading the few remarks I have made at odd times on the Transport Bill he will get the answer.

Hon. Members: No.

Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

Will the Minister bear in mind that this Committee sat to consider a state of affairs which was serious over two years ago? Since then nothing whatever has been done to alleviate the position. Will he treat this as a matter of considerable urgency?

Mr. Stewart

In our view, and I think it is justified, the action taken in the new Transport Act is the best step forward towards better transport.

Mr. Callaghan

Will the Minister particularise and, very shortly and concisely, tell us in one sentence what proposals he has in mind?

Mr. Stewart

I should need to occupy a few moments longer than that to show what advantages there are in the Act for the Highlands.

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

May I ask whether questions can be asked from the Front Bench without exerting too much pressure on the time allotted to back bench Members?

Mr. Speaker

I am sorry, but I cannot spend more than a certain amount of time on each Question.

Mr. MacMillan

The reflection was not on the Chair, but on the Front Bench.

Forward to