HC Deb 26 January 1954 vol 522 c1594
28. Lady Tweedsmuir

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the policy of his Department concerning high transport costs; and what action he proposes to take.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Henderson Stewart)

The transport undertakings must of course, follow a policy of making charges which will cover their outgoings. My right hon. Friend is aware that transport costs are a matter of concern in the North of Scotland, and he is in close touch with the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation in considering the current proposal of the British Transport Commission for an increase in freight rates.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Can my hon. Friend say whether his right hon. Friend is continuing to press the Transport Commission to introduce a tapering charges scheme? Does he realise that as far as concerns the fishing industry in Aberdeen—the main fishing port of Scotland—these high transport costs are really getting very serious indeed, and may well mean the blocking of the renewal of the fleet and, possibly, a steady decline for a number of years? What does his Department propose to do?

Mr. Stewart

The hon. Lady may be interested to know that, following an initial exploratory discussion about the possibility of reduced rates for fish traffic by rail from Aberdeen, a committee consisting of representatives of the Aberdeen Fish Curers' and Merchants Association and of British Railways has been set up to go further into the matter. No information as to the course of these discussions is as yet available.