HC Deb 03 February 1954 vol 523 cc359-60
40. Mr. Warbey

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will now publish the findings and proceedings of the 1942 Departmental Committee on Canal Transport.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I think the hon. Member must have in mind the report made in 1941 by the late Mr. Frank Pick. This was a confidential report submitted to the then Minister of War Transport. I am not prepared at this late date to publish it.

Mr. Warbey

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there has been no published survey of the canals and inland waterways of this country since the Royal Commission reported in 1906? How are we to make a proper assessment of the use that might be made of the canals of this country unless we can have up-to-date information on the whole subject?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I think the hon. Member knows that the canals, docks, and inland waterways have been under the control of the Transport Commission since 1947. A great deal of thought and work has been applied to the subject. I will bear in mind what the hon. Member says with regard to possible further inquiries.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Was there not a report in 1944 or 1945 by the Inland Waterways Committee of the Ministry, a very high authority? Would the right hon. Gentleman consider publishing that?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The difficulty of publishing reports which are confidential to Ministers has been recognised by all Governments, and I can give no such undertaking.