Road and Rail Services (Costs and Demand)

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th February 1966.

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Photo of Mr Charles Mapp Mr Charles Mapp , Oldham East 12:00 am, 9th February 1966

asked the Minister of Transport when the studies will be concluded of track and policing costs of road and rail transport and of the support costs to air transport operating on routes within Great Britain.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

My Department's current studies of road and rail transport costs and demand are comprehensive and will take a considerable time to complete, but I expect some preliminary results early this summer.

Photo of Mr Charles Mapp Mr Charles Mapp , Oldham East

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the three studies that have already taken place on this subject, one of which was conducted by her own Ministry? Is she further aware that they were all in conflict with each other? Could we now have an authoritative study with the results made available to us even before, if possible, publication of her White Paper on general policy—which itself should be as soon as possible?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

I assure my hon. Friend that he will be able to have the results of what will be a completely reliable study. But, as I have said, I do not think these results will be ready before the early summer. I have been under pressure from the House to produce the White Paper before that.

Photo of Mr Walter Monslow Mr Walter Monslow , Barrow-in-Furness

Since the railways are an integral part of the economic life of the nation, should not the construction, maintenance and policing of the railways be placed to the Defence Estimates?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

I agree with the first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, but I am not sure that his suggestion in the second part would be acceptable.