Mr. De la Bère
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether, in view of the fact that large numbers of the public, both men and women, have had no holiday, carrying with it a change of environment, since the outbreak of war, he will make some 45W pronouncement of the arrangements, both rail and motor-coach, which he intends to permit the public to make use of during the Easter holiday period.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
His Majesty's Government fully understand that everyone engaged in the war effort now needs both rest and change. They are anxious to do everything in their power to make this possible within the limits of the resources which they have. Unfortunately, however, the demands on both rail and road services are still extremely heavy. The railways are already hard pressed to carry the essential traffic required for military operations, for the relief of the liberated peoples, and for the maintenance of the life of the nation. Severe weather during the early weeks of the year caused accumulations of freight which are increasing current demands on the railways, whose capacity has meanwhile suffered by the transfer of many heavy locomotives to the Continent and by an increase in the number under or awaiting repair. I regret, therefore, that it will be necessary to introduce at Easter the restrictions both on Service and on assisted civilian travel which we have previously been compelled to impose. The road passenger services are also carrying a heavy burden, and they are short of omnibus crews. As he has done in the past, my Noble Friend will again make such adjustments both in rail and road passenger services as may be possible, but it would be wrong, to encourage the public to expect any additional travel facilities. I am sure that my hon. friend and the House will agree that my Noble Friend must consider first the movement of essential traffic and the great strain under which the transport workers have carried on.