§ Mr. BARNSTON
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the increased rates on goods traffic which the railway companies put into operation on the 1st of the present month are not shown in the rate books kept by those companies for public inspection; and, if so, whether, in view of the fact that the increased rates are a matter of public interest, the Board of Trade will call upon the railway companies to comply at once with their obligation to show in such books the rates for the time being charged on goods traffic?
I understand that in some, if not all, cases the alteration of the actual figures in the rate books is being done gradually, and that meanwhile reference has to be made to a printed scale inserted in front of the rate book, showing what the increases are on rates of various amounts. To alter all the figures immediately would probably be difficult, as the books have to be kept available for public inspection, but I will call the attention of the railway companies to the desirability of completing the alteration as soon as possible.
§ Mr. BARNSTON
asked the President of the Board of Trade, having regard to the fact that the whole trade of the country is affected by the increased rates on goods traffic put into operation by the railway companies on the 1st instant, whether the Board of Trade will exercise the power conferred upon them by Section 6 of the Regulation of Railways Act, 1873, and thereunder appoint some person to apply to the Court of the Railway and Canal Commission to determine whether the notices given by the railway companies of their intention to increase their rates on goods traffic on the 1st instant are or are not valid?
If any trader or responsible association of traders or local authority is of opinion that there is a doubt of the validity of the notices to which the hon. Member refers, it is open to such person or body to take proceedings to obtain a legal decision in the matter.