HC Deb 01 November 1995 vol 265 c300
15. Mr. Barry Field

To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he expects to publish the further report on ferry services and fares to the Isle of Wight. [38664]

Mr. Jonathan Evans

I understand that the Director General of Fair Trading expects to announce the outcome of his review of the market for the supply of cross-Solent ferry services in December 1995.

Mr. Field

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. There is no denying that there has been massive investment in all ferry routes to and from the Isle of Wight—in new vessels, better terminal facilities and improved timetabling—but the House will recognise that the Isle of Wight sees itself as a captive market whenever it wants to visit England. I hope that my hon. Friend will bear that in mind when he receives the report.

Mr. Evans

My hon. Friend has always kept the position under close review on behalf of his constituents. He will know that the Monopolies and Mergers Commission concluded that, although there was a monopoly position, it could not be said to operate against the public interest. Nevertheless, it was decided that there would be a review after three years to ensure that the public interest was in no way damaged. That review has been undertaken, and I assure my hon. Friend that I will closely consider its contents when they are received.