HC Deb 13 March 1963 vol 673 cc1339-40
19. Mr. K. Lewis

asked the Minister of Labour the cost to his Department of providing free railway vouchers to workers employed away from their home areas who need to travel home for domestic reasons.

Mr. Hare

In 1962, the arrangements for assisted home visits cost my Department about £5,400, and for emergency visits just over £700.

Mr. Lewis

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it is my view that he need not be inhibited in any way in asking the Chancellor of the Exchequer for a substantial increase in the sum available for this purpose, since British Railways are being subsidised at the rate of more than £100 million a year and the amount of money that would be spent on these fares would, therefore, be a purely paper transaction? At the same time, if more money were to be made available, young men could come from other parts of the country to where work is available and go back home.

Mr. Hare

I know my hon. Friend's feelings on this subject, but he will, I think, remember that my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary told him last month that I was considering increasing the number of assisted fares. But I probably would not go quite as far or as fast as my hon. Friend would like me to do.