HC Deb 29 June 1955 vol 543 cc379-80
11. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will make an up-to-date statement on his capital allocation for the development and modernisation of British Railways.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I do not make any allocation of capital for this purpose, but I would refer the hon. Member to the announcement made by the British Transport Commission on 5th May in regard to the main projects expected to begin during 1955 and 1956 under its plan for the modernisation and re-equipment of British Railways.

Mr. Smith

Should not an announcement of this kind be made by the Minister in this House? Is it not public finance that is being used? Should it not therefore be a concern of the elected representatives of the people? Now that the railways are beginning to get over the difficulties, will the Minister not make a special appeal to all grades, so that we may attain not only modernised railways but the best results from those engaged in the service?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I think the Gentleman misunderstands the position. This capital is raised on the market with the assistance of a Treasury guarantee. Subject to the approval of the Chancellor and myself, it is the responsibility of the British Transport Commission to carry out the development of its enterprise. I should very much hesitate to interfere more than the Statute compels me to do with its discharge of its responsibilities.

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