§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
asked the Minister of Transport for how much longer it is proposed to charge passengers first-class fares for troopship accommodation; and when it is proposed to hand back to the shipping companies responsibility for arrangements on board their own ships.
§ Mr. Barnes
First-class fares are not charged on troopships. The fares charged for cabin and similar accommodation are generally below commercial first-class fares on routes where commercial ships are operating. The use of requisitioned transports for civilian passengers is necessary while the release and reconversion of passenger ships for trading is proceeding if passengers are to be moved meanwhile. The rate of progress in release and reconversion is governed not only by the remaining trooping requirements but also by the capacity of the yards to accept the work of reconversion. Twenty-five passenger ships are being refitted for commercial service at the present time, and by the end of the year practically all passenger liners suitable for trading will have been released and will be then either sailing or undergoing reconversion. Requisitioned transports are managed on my behalf by the shipping companies.