HC Deb 18 February 1970 vol 796 cc391-3
10. Mr. Noble

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the new schedules of times and charges for steamer services affecting Argyll have been discussed and agreed by the Transport Committee of the Scottish Economic Planning Council or by the Highland Development Board.

Mr. Ross

No, Sir. It is not the practice to refer detailed matters of this kind to these bodies. The operators discussed and agreed the new time-table with Argyll County Council. There were no changes in freight charges and rates, except for vehicles.

Mr. Noble

When large amounts of taxpayers' money are being spent on rather doubtful projects of this sort, should not somebody independently ensure that the amount of money is reasonable? On the question of charges, will the right hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that he will table the results of this new service at the end of six months? As for schedules and times, will he use his influence to ensure that people who are using these services are told more than a few hours before the new service comes into operation?

Mr. Ross

I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that we try as far as possible to meet the convenience of the public in this matter. He will be aware that for the first time, with the passing of the Transport Act, there can be reference to the Scottish Transport Users Consultative Council in respect of complaints about these matters. That body is the right one to receive such complaints. As for publishing details of the results, the right hon. Gentleman will be the first to know that commercial considerations and questions of commercial confidentiality arise.