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.
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?
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.
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?