§ Considered in Committee under Standing Order No. 69.—(King's Recommendation signified.)
§ [Major MILNER in the Chair]
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That, for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to provide, amongst other things, for the establishment of a British Transport Commission, it is expedient to authorise—
For the purposes of this Resolution, the expression "borrow" does not include—
§ 1.42 a.m.
§ The Minister of Transport (Mr. Barnes)
This Financial Resolution is proposed for the purpose of meeting an undertaking which I gave in Committee to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Richmond (Sir H. Watt). It has been the practice of the railway companies to utilise the funds of the railway savings banks in their general accounts and the original Financial Resolution which dealt with temporary borrowings did not make provision to continue that practice. This Resolution will regularise that position and the sums are fairly considerable. I am informed that in the savings bank account there is approximately £45 million and in the pension fund the figure is something like £73 million. By this Resolution the British Transport Commission will thereby continue the practice of the railway companies and utilise those funds, and they will not be classified under the figure of million temporary borrowings.
With regard to the details of the Financial Resolution, paragraph (a) repeats that part of the original Financial Resolution, and it is there for the purpose of bringing the Resolution back to the original Resolution. With regard to paragraph (b), under Section 21 of the Railways Act, 1921, the Railway Rates Tribunal staff was limited to ten persons. My attention has been drawn to the matter and various sections of industry and traders generally interested in the work of the Tribunal consider that the staff is inadequate. Therefore, for the purpose of enabling the Tribunal to increase its staff, we have introduced this paragraph. The remaining paragraphs give effect to my earlier remark, and permit the Transport Commission to use the pension funds and savings bank funds without their being classified as temporary borrowing.
§ Mr. Oliver Poole (Oswestry)
I wish to raise one point. According to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman this Financial Resolution refers only to two matters—savings banks, about which he gave my hon. and learned Friend an undertaking, and the minor point of enabling more staff to be given to the Transport Tribunal. I understood there were other points which were to be brought forward on a later stage. Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether in fact they are covered under the old Financial Resolution or whether the new Resolution covers all the points raised in the various new Clauses which he has tabled?
§ Mr. Barnes
This Financial Resolution covers only the points I have referred to. The original Resolution covers all other necessary points.
§ Resolution to be reported this day.