HC Deb 13 April 1926 vol 194 cc9-11
15. Mr. PENNY

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will convene a meet- ing of local authorities from all areas in which toll-gates and toll-bridges are situated to discuss the desirability of freeing them, in view of the burden of the charges, especially in agricultural districts; and will he further consider, in view of the fact that these toll-charges are more a national than a local problem, whether greater financial assistance can be granted to local authorities from the Road Fund for this object, in order to place England in a similar position to Scotland, where tolls on roads and bridges were abolished as far back as 1878?

The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Colonel Ashley)

I would remind my hon. Friend that in September, 1925, I issued a Circular to all local authorities calling attention to the provisions of the Roads Improvement Act, 1925, regarding toll-roads and bridges. I have reason to know that in many districts the matter is engaging the close attention of the local authorities, with whom the initiative must rest. In these circumstances, I do not consider that the suggested conference would serve any useful purpose. With regard to financial assistance from the Road Fund, no decision has yet been reached as to the amount of money to be made available for the purpose during the present year, or the terms upon which aid can be given.


Is it the understood policy that Scotland shall always be placed before England?

Colonel ASHLEY

I do not think that arises on this question.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there has been any appreciable move on behalf of the local authorities in this direction since 1925, or whether, on the other hand, the local authorities are trusting to the Ministry of Transport to call them together with a view to co-ordination and to get a move on?

Colonel ASHLEY

I did send out Circulars, but I am sorry to say that a poor response has come in. The initiative must rest, under conditions and under present legislation, with the local authorities.


Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that before this problem can be satisfactorily handled he will have to seek some compulsory power to make the people owning the toll gates part with them at a reasonable price? Is not that the reason why the local authorities are not moving?



The hon. Member cannot put a supplementary on every question.


The latter part of the original question, Mr. Speaker, you will notice refers to Scotland. You will remember that on the last day the House sat before Easter I put a question to the Minister, and I want to know what action has been taken in regard to the dangerous cross-road which I mentioned then.


That does not arise out of this question.