(Continued front Page 5.) is unsound in principle as. a means of bolstering up concerns like the railways.
Railway stockholders of to-day are suffering for the sins of a previous generation, a generation which allowed land-owners, speculators, lawyers and industrialists a free hand to exploit ruthlessly whom they could. The land-owner incidentally, Is still almost. as free to-day. Both from the shareholders, labour and consumers' viewpoints State ownership of transport is a desirable thing.
Railway shareholders, in place of shares of unstable values and problematical dividends, would receive Government bonds bearing a fixed and guaranteed rate of interest plus an amount calcu lated to amortise their capital within a certain time, Freed from the exigencies of competition, it will be possible for labour to be given improved conditions of service, while the consumer will benefit by not having to pay for redundant overheads, interest on excess capital, and fees for ornamental directors.
PUBLIC CONTROL BOUND TO COME It is daily becoming more evident that transport will have to be rationalised under public control, and the date of this change, the logical conclusion of the 1921 groupings, is not likely to be delayed for more than a year or two, and may quite possibly be precipitated in the near future as a. result of the intransigent attitude of the railway trade unions, which have now grown in strength to cover almost the whole of the employees for whom they cater.
1 Statistics furnished by the National Union of Railwaymen.
2 eleven Years of Railway Finance: W. Fox. Published by The Labour Research Bureau.
3 From a. statement by the British Railways Stockholders' Union Ltd.
4 The number of railway employees rated at under 50s. a week is usually given as 120,000. The railway companies' spokesman in the recent wage claim hearings gave It as 101,000, and as there seems to be some uncertainty I have chosen the lower figure.
5 Computed from the 1938 balance sheets for the four companies.
6 Reported in Railway Gazette, 3/3/39.
7 This is the figure given by the G.W.R. chairman In the 1938 report for his company. For all the railways in 1935 it was UK 11d.
R Railway Year Book, 1936-7.
10 Daily Man, March 10. 1939.
1? Seven Years of Railway Finance: W. Fox. The writer of this work gives for 1934 that the 78 railway directors held between them 526 directorates.
13 Railway Year Book, 1936-7.
14 Reynolds News, March 20. 1932. Figures given in an article by the Rt. Hon. Tom Johnston, M.P.
15 In the House of Commons, February 11, 1908.
16 Labour and Capital on the Railways, published by the Labour Research Dept., 1923.
18 Elements of Railway Reonamics, page 11.
19 The Times. November 17, 1845.
20 The Railway Aoe : Andrews. Published Country Life, 1937.
21 Figures given in House of Commons debate. February 11, 1908.
22 Labour and Capital on the Railways: Labour Research Bureau.
93 Ibid. Detailed authorities are given in arriving at this estimate.
24 Railway Review, February 3, 1939.