16 FEBRUARY 1940, Page 3

he Railway Agreement

The Government's agreement with the railway companies e under two-fold criticism from the Labour Party on uesday—first on the ground that it was too generous to the mpanies. and second that all inland and coastwise trans- ought to have been brought under unified control. In gard to the agreement itself, the Government's task was a cult and delicate one. Railway finance has been in a bad ay for a long time, and there is a case for the argument t it is not the business of the Government to give the !ways the opportunity to earn in war profits they could t have earned in peace. On the other hand, the rail- ays undoubtedly will be performing their functions to the ost during the war, and will be really earning payments at least a moderate commercial basis. Could the Govern- ent deny them moderate profits? The minimum guarantee £40,000,000 and perhaps the additional revenue, if earned, £3,500,000, seem justified, but the equal sharing with the overnment of amounts beyond that is open to question, tainly so long as the competing road undertakings do not joy the same privileges. Labour was perfectly right in sing the whole question of nationalisation, but the time r that is not in the middle of a war.