British Railways (Deficit)

Oral Answers to Questions — Railways – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th July 1968.

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Photo of Hon. Thomas Galbraith Hon. Thomas Galbraith , Glasgow Hillhead 12:00 am, 24th July 1968

asked the Minister of Transport what he estimates the total cost of running the British Railways, which is not covered by receipts from customers, will be this year.

Photo of Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne , South Angus

asked the Minister of Transport what is the latest estimate of the British Railways deficit for 1968.

Photo of Mr Neil Carmichael Mr Neil Carmichael , Glasgow Woodside

We still expect the Railway Board's deficit in 1968 to be contained within the £152 million on which the Vote Estimate is based.

Photo of Hon. Thomas Galbraith Hon. Thomas Galbraith , Glasgow Hillhead

I do not know whether that was the answer that I was hoping to get. Can the hon. Gentleman tell the House whether, as a result of the changes in the Transport Bill, the taxpayer will have to pay more or less money in future to maintain the railways and the rest of the transport system?

Photo of Mr Neil Carmichael Mr Neil Carmichael , Glasgow Woodside

The hon. Gentleman asked what would be the deficit this year and I gave him the estimate of £152 million. The projected estimate given as a result of the Transport Bill is £55 million for socially necessary lines. If the hon. Gentleman wants more information, perhaps he will put down another Question.

Photo of Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne , South Angus

Was not one of the purposes of introducing the Transport Bill to enable the deficit on the railways to be reduced? Is the hon. Gentleman now saying that this will not be achieved this year?

Photo of Mr Neil Carmichael Mr Neil Carmichael , Glasgow Woodside

There is a later Question about that. The hon. Gentleman has the same trouble as his hon. Friend who asked about the deficit for 1968. We are not yet at the operative date of the Transport Bill when Questions on these lines may produce the information which hon. Members require.