HC Deb 07 August 1925 vol 187 cc1705-6
11. Mr. HANNON

asked the Minister of Transport whether the Government has yet formulated any scheme for the promotion of canal development in the Midlands or elsewhere; and what measure of support the Government proposes to give towards the development of canal schemes promoted by local authorities and private enterprise, with a view to the relief of unemployment in the forthcoming winter and the development of water transport facilities?

The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of TRANSPORT (Lieut.-Colonel Moore-Brabazon)

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on the 8th April to the question on the subject asked by the hon. Member for Shoreditch, of which I am sending him a copy.

12. Mr. HANNON

asked the Minister of Transport whether he has yet received any report from the Birmingham Town Council on the projected scheme for the enlargement of canal communication between Birmingham and the Mersey; to what extent the Government proposes to assist this scheme in the event of its adoption by the various local authorities concerned; and whether he has had expert advice on the advantage of this scheme to the industries of the area through which the enlarged canal will operate?


My right hon. Friend has received a report from the Birmingham City Council of a projected scheme for the improvement of canal communication between Birmingham and the Mersey. He has discussed the proposals with those interested in the scheme, and at their request is arranging a further conference with the owners of the various waterways affected. Any such scheme, if it were to be carried out at present with a view to the relief of unemployment, would be eligible for assistance from the Unemployment Grants Committee if it were approved by them. The scheme has not yet, however, assumed a sufficiently definite form to enable the necessary application for Parliamentary powers to be made, and I cannot at present say whether Government assistance would be available in future in the event of any such scheme receiving the approval of Parliament.


Is the Ministry taking any steps to have a report prepared by its own experts on this project?


Yes, we do examine these canal schemes, but very few of those put before the Ministry hold water at all. [Laughter.]


This is really not a laughing matter at all; it is a very serious question. In point of fact, is there an expert at the Ministry at all competent to deal with canal questions?

Lieut.-Colonel MOORE-BRABAZON:

Yes, Sir.