§ Sir A. YEO
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether, in view of the fact that current rates for the carriage of merchandise by rail were fixed with the object of securing 16 months' revenue for the railway companies in the 11 months preceding decontrol, and that practically no voluntary reductions have been made by the railway companies at a time when foreign competition is threatening to kill important British industries unless costs are reduced all round, he will take steps forthwith to constitute the Rates Tribunal under the Railways Act, 1921, with instructions to hear immediately the applications which have already been made under Section 60 of that Act?
§ Mr. NEAL
As the hon. Member indicates, the increased rates of September, 1920, were intended to secure sufficient additional revenue in 11 months to produce financial equilibrium over the first 16 months of control, but the depression in trade and the coal stoppage largely defeated this aim and rendered any general reduction in rates before the end of Government possession impracticable. The permanent members of the Railway Rates Tribunal have been appointed by His Majesty, and it is open to any representative body of traders to make application for reductions.in railway rates under Section 60 of the Railways Act, 1921.