Railway Companies' Application (Share Prices).

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport. – in the House of Commons on 21st August 1940.

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Photo of Mr Alexander Sloan Mr Alexander Sloan , South Ayrshire

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that, on Tuesday, 13th August, a few hours before the publication of the "London Gazette" which contained the Ministry's statement that the railway companies' application for an increase in fares and charges had been granted, Great Western Railway ordinary shares rose 30s., London Midland and Scottish Railway rose 15s., and Southern Railway deferred rose £3; and can he explain from which source in his Department the leakage arose?

Photo of Sir John Reith Sir John Reith , Southampton

There was no leakage from the Ministry, and, of course, no increase has yet been granted. The Railway Executive Committee supply periodically statements of variations in working costs and proposals for a corresponding adjustment of rates in accordance with the agreement between Government and railways. On 9th August the proposals were referred by the Ministry to the Charges Consultative Committee for public inquiry and advice. On 12th August the committee sent copies to the London County Council and various trade associations; also notice of public inquiry to the "London Gazette" for publication next day.

Photo of Mr Alexander Sloan Mr Alexander Sloan , South Ayrshire

Am I to understand that it was only by chance that the shares rose immediately before the publication of the information?

Photo of Sir John Reith Sir John Reith , Southampton

I inquired into the share rise, and I am informed that in fact no increase of any significance took place. The movements in the prices of junior stocks that day were considered minute and might have been brought about by very small-scale buying.