§ 35. Mr. Holland
asked the Minister of Transport when he expects to take the necessary steps to give a greater degree of independence to the regions of British Railways.
§ The Minister of Transport (Mr. Ernest Marples)
I am not yet in a position to make a statement on this subject.
§ Mr. Holland
Would not my right hon. Friend agree that many of the older railwaymen who form the hard core of the service still think with pride of, for example, a region's safety record or good timekeeping record? Does he not think that we should do what we can to bring about a revival of this pride throughout the service by enabling regions to have a greater degree of independence?
§ Mr. Marples
A special advisory group is taking evidence from all classes of people, and I am sure that it will bear this in mind before it makes its recommendations in this respect.
§ Mr. Benn
As a Select Committee of the House has made a very thorough investigation of the railways and has presented a Report on the matter, will 1643 the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that no action will be taken following the Stedeford Committee's recommendations until the House has had an opportunity to debate his own proposals in a White Paper that we can put side by side with the Select Committee's Report?
§ Mr. Marples
Decentralisation or any alteration of the areas would require legislation, and so discussions would be automatic.