§ 45. Sir R. THOMAS
asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that, in regard to the flooding of certain Metro- 2450 politan areas by the Thames, the General Purposes Committee of the London County Council, having devoted consideration to the position of the Administrative County of London in any probable scheme, the conflict of jurisdiction of the various riparian authorities, and various technical aspects of the question, declare that they find the problem one of considerable perplexity, and that they are not in a position to report; and whether he is prepared to pronounce the question a national one, and to consider initiating a Thames valley-drainage scheme a national undertaking for the relief of unemployment?
I have been asked to reply to this question. I am aware of the report. What the committee stated was that they were not yet in a position to report, but would do so as soon as possible. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.
§ Sir R. THOMAS
Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that this Committee really did state that they felt difficulty in reporting?
Their answer was, as I understand, that they found difficulty in reporting at once, but they did not say that they would find any difficulty ultimately in making a Report. On the contrary, they stated that they would report as soon as possible.
I do not think that I am in a position to give an answer on that point. The Report is not to be made by me or by anyone over whom I have any control; it will be a Report by the General Purposes Committee of the London County Council, and anything that they do is entirely outside my purview.
Yes. I am not sure that there is not a little confusion on this matter, because, as I understand, the Committee to whose Report the hon. Member makes reference is investigating, not so much the question of floods in the Metropolitan area as the whole question of drainage and flooding in the Thames Valley, and I should imagine that that is a matter which it would take some time thoroughly to consider.
§ Sir R. THOMAS
Having regard to the great importance of this matter, will the right hon. Gentleman urge the Committee to report as soon as possible?
I am always a little chary of interfering more than is necessary with the functions of local authorities—[Interruption]—and I never do so except in the last resort, especially in a case of such importance as this.
§ Brigadier-General Sir GEORGE COCKERILL
Does my right hon. Friend propose that a Committee of this House should be set up to consider this matter?
No, Sir; I do not think there is any necessity to set up a Committee of this House. Whether anything further will require to be done when the Report of this particular Committee is received, is a matter to be considered later.