Mr. T. THOMSON
asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware of the serious hindrance to production in the iron and steel industries of the North-East Coast caused by the shortage of wagons; and -can he considerably expedite the return of the 20,000 British railway wagons still in France and Belgium, so that all are brought back within the next two months?
§ Sir ERIC GEDDES
I am aware of a general shortage of empty railway wagons, but, according to my information, the North-East Coast is not suffering more seriously than other districts. I am, however, inquiring into the case referred to by the hon. Member. As regards the second part of the question, every effort is being made to expedite the return of wagons from France, but it will not be possible to complete this work within two months. As my right hon. Friend explained in his reply to the hon. Member for Leyton on the 22nd instant, it is hoped to increase the average rate of return very shortly to about 900 wagons per week.