HC Deb 20 March 1923 vol 161 cc2376-7W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether the railway companies were permitted by his Department in September, 1920, to further increase their rates for the carriage of coal to 100 per cent. above the pre-War level, plus a flat rate of 6d. per ton; whether any attempt has been made by the Ministry to get the rate back to the September, 1920, level; and whether any steps are being taken by the Government in the matter?

Colonel ASHLEY

The Minister directed the railway companies to increase the rates for coal on and from the 1st September, 1920, by an addition of 100 per cent. to the rates in operation on the 14th January, 1920, plus a flat rate of 6d. per ton, subject to a maximum addition of 4s. Since that date reductions have been made by the railway companies, and the increases now operating are 60 per cent. plus 2d. per ton, subject to reduced maximum additions. As regards the last part of the hon. Member's question, the Minister has now no control over the charges made by the railway companies. Provision is, however, made in the Railways Act, 1921, whereby applications for a reduction in the charges may be made by interested parties to the Rates Tribunal, who have power to determine the same.