As a result of negotiations with representative bodies of traders, the railway companies in England and Wales have announced general reductions in railway rates for traffic conveyed by merchandise train to operate from the 1st August next. For details, I would refer my hon. Friend to the published statement, of which I am sending him a copy. The rates are not fixed for any specified period of time. but I am informed that the Federation of British Industries and the companies have agreed that they will not apply or be parties to any application for a general alteration to come into operation before the 31st July, 1923.