asked the Minister of Transport whether he has reconsidered the question of the transit of fish, vegetables, and other perishables by passenger train traffic, charges being payable by consignee as prior to 1917; if he is aware of the dissatisfaction among the traders concerned with the attitude of the Ministry of Transport in this matter; and what is the reason of the non-resumption of these facilities for traders?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Exhaustive inquiries have been made, and it has been found that, if the practice obtaining prior to 1917 were again adopted, considerable additional staff would be required. In the circumstances it is not considered practicable to revert to the old practice.
May I ask if there is any hope of reverting to the old practice, and whether under the present system the railway companies, in some cases, are careless about the proper delivery of these perishable goods, whereas under the old system they took good care of them?
I regret if there has been any carelessness. As to the prospect of reverting to the old system, it is obvious that, as in every business, we have to economise at the present time. I certainly hope the old practice can be reverted to later on.
In the meantime, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that traders in perishable goods are very dissatisfied indeed, and can he hold out hopes of an early resumption of the old practice, which worked so very well?