MR. R. G. WEBSTER
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether it is a fact that guaranteed and assisted railways in India have been constructed at a less cost than those built by the State; and if the Government will consider the question whether, 1456 in the event of future railway construction in Africa, it would be desirable to give a guarantee to such lines of railway as they may deem desirable to develop British territory in Africa and British commerce?
§ MR. JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN
I learn, on inquiry, that, speaking generally, from the results of recent experience, there is no substantial difference in the cost of construction of State railways in India and of those built by guaranteed or assisted companies. As regards questions which will have to be dealt with in my Department of future railway construction in Africa, I can only say that each scheme will be considered on its merits, and settled according to the particular circumstances of the case.