HC Deb 17 February 1881 vol 258 cc1076-7

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether it is true that the Select Committee on Highways (House of Lords), re-appointed last week, is not to meet for a month; whether he is aware that several highway boards have lately been dissolved, and that others are petitioning to do the same in consequence of the heavy burdens on the ratepayers, now doubled by taking down the toll-gates; and, whether under these circumstances, the Government will prevent any further delay in an inquiry, with a view to early legislation?


Sir, the Resolution to appoint a Select Committee on Highways was passed on the 11th inst.; but, so far as appears from the Votes of the House of Lords, the Committee itself has not yet been nominated. I cannot, therefore, say that it will not meet for a month; but I have no reason to suppose that, when appointed, any unnecessary delay is likely to arise in its proceedings. Eleven highway districts have been dissolved since January 1, 1879, and eight new ones have been constituted during the same period. I have no information whether any other Highway Boards are petitioning to be dissolved in consequence of the increased rates caused by the abolition of turnpikes; but, if such should be the ease, it is not easy to see how such a course will afford any general relief to the rates. No doubt, individual parishes may be relieved; but this would be at the cost of those through which the disturnpiked roads pass. For the reasons before referred to, there would seem to be no occasion for any intervention on the part of the Government in relation to the inquiry before the Select Committee. Indeed, when such a Committee has been appointed, it would be a very unusual course to interfere with its proceedings.