Sunday, 7 September 2014

Commission's Wide Powers.

This is just one of a series of around fifty old newspaper articles that I have been reading. I have been researching from old newspapers and magazines the last 200 years or so of the inland waterways. With particular interest in the issues of the day that were effecting the canals. The most active periods for evaluation and change, has always been just prior, during and shortly after the two world wars. It should be remembered that between the wars the ownership of some of the canals changed hands as the railway companies bought up the waterways to get reduce competition. What is not clear is the effect this early form of asset stripping had on the viability of the inland waterways. Its good to take a look back at what people were saying and doing in the past. Most surprising of all are some of the problems that beset the canals back then - are still prevalent today. Reading old newspapers can throw up some rather interesting stories. Here is what we would call today a public interest story.

Caveat: Some of the articles are difficult to read and even using modern electronic  scanning and text conversion methods. The odd punctuation, word or character may have been transcribed in error. 

The West Australian
Saturday 30 November 1946 
Commission's Wide Powers.

LONDON. Nov. 29. A five-man commission will run the nationalised transport services in Britain. The Government's Transport Bill published yesterday gives the commission power to carry goods and passengers by rail, road and inland waterways and to provide port facilities within Britain. The commission is empowered to carry on any other activities previously conducted by the undertakings to be acquired. The commission will be obliged to acquire all road haulage undertakings predominantly engaged in carrying over distances of 40 miles and upwards. The Bill proposes to restrict, private hauliers carrying for hire to 25 miles from the place of operation. The limit for hauliers not carrying for hire is 40 miles. The commission may issue permits for those distances to be exceeded. To assist the commission the Government will appoint four executives for railways, docks and waterways, road transport and hotels, respectively. These executives will act as agents for the commission. The Government will also set up for Britain, Wales and Scotland three central transport consultative committees and in districts there will be transport users' consultative committees. A coastal shipping advisory committee will maintain liaison with the commission. 
Compensation to the road hauliers will be based on the net value of the assets plus in certain cases compensation for cessation of business. Compensation under £2,000 sterling may be paid in cash but otherwise in Treasury guaranteed British transport stock. The commission is empowered to issue stock not exceeding £250,000,000 sterling, also to raise temporary loans not exceeding £25,000,000 The Bill covers 60 railway under takings with 52,000 miles of track, 198 miles of canals and 53,000 buses and coaches. Before the war there were 200,000 licensed road hauliers operating 450,000 vehicles. The various undertakings in 1945 employed 976,000 persons. The Bill charges the commission to conduct its undertakings so that revenue is not less than sufficient to meet charges, taking one year with another. The Bill takes effect from January, 1, 1948, when a five-man commission will assume all rights and liabilities of railways, canals and the London Passenger Transport Board. says an official statement. The Minister of Transport will appoint the members of the commission from persons who have wide experience and have shown capacity in transport and industrial, commercial and financial matters, and also in the administration of workers.

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