HC Deb 30 November 1938 vol 342 cc430-1W
Mr. Benjamin Smith

asked the Minister of Transport whether he has any figures to show how far the decline in the receipts of the railway companies is due to the competition of road transport and how far it is attributable to the general falling off in traffic caused by trade depression?

Mr. Burgin

No returns of traffic are made by the operators of goods vehicles on roads, and I have, therefore, no figures indicative of the extent to which traffic may have been diverted from the railways.

Mr. Adamson

asked the Minister of Transport what difficulties have been encountered in relation to the problem of evolving a rate structure for the various transport services; and what steps are being taken to implement the proposals of the Transport Advisory Council with respect to the establishment of a rate system for road transport?

Mr. Burgin

The Transport Advisory Council recommended that an opportunity should be afforded for road hauliers to build up a rates structure for their own industry and should be given time in which to do it. A liaison committee has been set up within the industry and I understand that real progress is being made with what is admittedly a difficult problem.

Mr. Kelly

asked the Minister of Transport whether his Department has prepared any plans for a national emergency which would involve the cooperation of the railway companies and the road transport operators?

Mr. Burgin

Yes, Sir. The plans for securing the most effective use of transport in an emergency involve the cooperation of all branches of transport. I take this opportunity of acknowledging the help I am receiving, in formulation of plans, from responsible representatives of railways, road transport, docks and canals.

Mr. D. M. Adams

asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the recommendations of the Transport Advisory Council regarding rate fixing for the railway, road, inland waterway, and coastal services, he will undertake to maintain the restrictions on the fixing of railway rates?

Mr. Burgin

Quite obviously I am unable to make a statement on this matter at present. This question is receiving my close attention in the light both of the reports of the Transport Advisory Council on Service and Rates and of the representations recently made to me by the railway companies.