HC Deb 10 November 1953 vol 520 cc761-2
21. Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will implement the recommendations of the Cameron Committee on Highland Transport during the present Session.

Mr. J. Stuart

I am unable to add to the reply given to the hon. Member on 16th June.

Mr. Grimond

Now that a new Session has started, can we not hope for a new spirit in regard to this matter which is vital for the whole Highlands? Can the Secretary of State indicate what the Government's general policy is in regard to freight charges generally?

Mr. Stuart

The British Transport Commission undertook to consider this Report in framing their railway freight charges scheme under the Transport Act, 1947, and the Committee's recommendations relating to charges are primarily matters for the British Transport Commission.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) and some other Highland Members did their best to destroy any hope of flat-rate charges by voting for the destruction of the road transport organisation?

Mr. Grimond

Is the Minister aware that the alteration of the set-up between rail and road transport has nothing whatever to do with this problem, that rail transport is not the only transport in the Highlands, and that my own constituents, for instance, are dependent on sea transport?

34. Mr. John MacLeod

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the detrimental effect that freight charges are having on trade in the remoter areas in the Highlands of Scotland; and if he will initiate further discussions with the British Transport Commission and the Committee on Highland Transport Costs on the practicability of a flat-rate for merchandise in the Highland areas.

Mr. J. Stuart

I am aware that freight charges are a matter of concern to traders in the Highlands. The Committee on Highland Transport Costs were not in favour of railway flat rates. The Committee's recommendations relating to railway charges have already been brought to the notice of the British Transport Commission, who are preparing a draft Rail Merchandise Scheme for submission to the Transport Tribunal.

Mr. MacLeod

Can my right hon. Friend say when this is likely to be published?

Hon. Members

In the future.

Mr. Stuart

I am afraid that I have no information.