HC Deb 09 February 1954 vol 523 cc975-6
3. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland is he is aware of the threat of loss and damage to the fishing and agricultural industries in the North of Scotland caused by the existing high freight charges and by the proposed increase in freight charges for the pro ducts of these industries; and what steps he proposes to protect these industries from such loss and damage.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the reply given to the hon. Lady, the Member for Aberdeen, South (Lady Tweedsmuir) on 26th January.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Minister not realise that an application is imminent to increase the freight charges, although existing freight rates already press very heavily on the North-East of Scotland, and that the discrimination is very unfair? Will he take steps to oppose the application?

Mr. Stewart

As the hon. and learned Gentleman knows, the Minister of Transport is at present considering a report of the Transport Tribunal on the British Transport Commission's proposal, and the Secretary of State for Scotland is in constant touch with the Minister of Transport.

Lady Tweedsmuir

What progress is being made in the conversations between the fishing industry and the British Transport Commission on the freight charges?

Mr. Stewart

I am sorry that I cannot tell my hon. Friend that. The discussions are going on. They are somewhat detailed, but we do not yet know what is happening.