The effects of Government control and of the incessant demands
of the railwaymen for higher wages upon railway finance were well shown in a return issued last Saturday by the Ministry of Transport. For the last nine months of 1919 the railways earned only seven millions above their expenditure. In January last the expenditure exceeded the revenue by £390,000. The Government, under their guarantee of the normal dividend to the shareholders, thus incurred a liability for the ten months of nearly 35 millions. That was the subsidy that had to be paid to the railway companies, which, under private management, yielded before the war a moderate return on their capital. The railways should earn more now that the goods rates have been raised, but, as the labour bill has gone up still higher, Mr. Chamberlain has had to allot 23 millions for the railway subsidy this year, as compared with 60 millions for last year. State control seems to cause an automatic deficit.