§ 13. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a comprehensive statement on the manner in which his economy drive has affected the efficiency of British Railways in the North-East of Scotland; and what are his present and future plans relating to rail transport in, to and from the North-East and North of Scotland within the capital reorganisation scheme.
§ The Minister of Transport (Mr. Ernest Marples)
No, Sir. I have nothing to add on this matter to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 10th March. The Commission hopes to improve the overall efficiency of the rail services in, to and 1279 from the North-East and North of Scotland by modernisation and by cutting out little-used stations and spur lines.
§ Mr. Hughes
Does not the Minister realise that the principle that he is applying to the railways mentioned in the Question conflicts with the principle which his own Government apply in the Highlands and Islands Shipping Services Bill, and that it is further evidence of the penalties which the Government are inflicting upon the people of the North-East of Scotland, where they want better transport, better population—or, rather, more population—and more industry and employment? Will the right hon. Gentleman address his mind to this aspect of the matter?
§ Mr. Marples
I am sorry that the hon. and learned Member thinks that they want better population. I do not think they need better representation. I am, however, bound to say that I disagree, as nearly always, with almost everything that the hon. and learned Member has said in his supplementary question.