asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury when the present contract with Messrs. MacBrayne for carrying mails on the West Coast of Scotland comes to an end; and whether the Treasury will agree to a separate contract for the service between Stornoway and the mainland being thrown open to competition?
§ Mr. PEASE
I have been asked to answer this question. The contract for the conveyance of mails to Stornoway is part of a group of contracts which have been kept in being by an agreement under which, in consideration of help extended to them, the MacBrayne Company assume certain obligations (inter alia conveyance to Stornoway) for five years from the 31st of January next succeeding the termination of the War. The company would no doubt gladly accept release from this obligation, but it would not be expedient to release them. It has never been found possible to secure competition for a contract for the conveyance of mails to Stornoway. I have no reason to suppose the case is different now. But if the hon. Member has any information to 1476W the contrary I shall be glad if he will communicate with me.