HC Deb 19 February 1918 vol 103 cc599-600
23. Mr. SHAW

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether he can state, approximately, the amount of the expenditure up to date upon, or in connection with, the scheme for an aviation ground in Ayrshire; whether roads and a railway were built, hutments erected, and land reclamation undertaken; whether proper engineering advice was taken before the site was selected and the expenditure incurred; and whether it is proposed to proceed with the scheme?


In answer to the first and second parts of the question, the amount expended on works services under the control of the War Office was about £400,000. Roads were built, hutments erected, and land reclamation undertaken. A temporary railway was made for part of the way, and a scheme for extension considered but refused on account of engineering difficulties. The answer to the third part is in the affirmative. Any question as to the future of this establishment should be addressed to the representative of the Air Board, as that Department is now in control.


Before the work was begun was the advice of expert civil engineers sought, and was the expenditure submitted to and sanctioned by the Treasury?


I am not sure about the last part of the question, but the answer to the first part is in the affirmative.


Approximately, how long have these works been in operation I Were they not in operation for over a year, and has not this £400,000 been absolutely thrown away?


These works were, I believe, in operation for over a year. So far as the War Office are concerned, they went upon the most explicit and most expert advice.


Is it not a fact that whereas my hon. Friend has stated that the cost to the War Office was £400,000, the entire amount of money wasted was £1,000,000?


No. I am perfectly certain that my hon. Friend exaggerates largely.