§ Major GLYN
asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware of the severe hardship upon British timber merchants growing home timber by being refused any rebate for the transportation of pit-props from the North to the coalfields; whether pit-props can be considered as raw material for the coal industry as manure in bulk is for agriculture; and whether, since 50 per cent. plus 6d. per ton with a maximum rate of 4s. per ton is allowed for the latter, Scottish and other timber merchants who are encouraging home-grown timber have been fairly dealt with?
§ Sir E. GEDDES
I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given to the hon. Members for Forfar (Mr. W. Shaw) and Renfrew East (Mr. Johnstone) on the 8th instant, of which I am sending him a copy. The concession which has been made in the rates for the carriage of manure was granted in the interest of agriculture within the United Kingdom, and it is not practicable to extend it to the timber trade.
§ Mr. W. SHAW
asked the Minister of Transport whether it is a fact that the Rates Advisory Committee granted a concession to the Actors' Association on the ground that the theatrical business had made contracts on the old railway rates, and that if the proposed increases had been adhered to the theatrical profession would have made serious losses on their contracts; whether he is aware that the timber merchants in the North of Scotland are, as regards contracts, in a similar position to the theatrical people; and whether, under these circumstances, he will reconsider his decision and instruct the Rates Advisory Committee to consider a revision of rates for home-grown timber?
§ Sir E. GEDDES
The special fares granted to theatrical touring companies in pre-War days were, not withdrawn during the War, and in view of the general representations made as to the hardship which would be caused to the profession, the Rates Advisory Committee1542W recommended that the matter be held in abeyance until they were able to report on this and other cases in which fares below the ordinary are charged. I adopted their recommendation.