HC Deb 12 March 1929 vol 226 cc971-2

asked the Minister of Transport what was the estimated number of men for whom it was proposed to find employment in the making of the Forth and Clyde ship canal in the scheme which his Department has considered; and for what period these men could have been employed?

Colonel ASHLEY

The employment involved in carrying out a scheme of the magnitude of a ship canal between the Forth and the Clyde would no doubt be substantial, but I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given him on the 26th November last when I stated that the various estimates of the cost of constructing such a canal could not be satisfactorily tested until a detailed geological survey of the route had been carried out. In these circumstances, no reliable estimate of the employment likely to be afforded can be arrived at.


Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman not aware that in a previous answer he stated that a considerable loss would be incurred in the scheme, and may I ask him how it is possible for him to estimate whether or not there will be a loss if he cannot give an estimate of the numbers of men who will be employed?

Colonel ASHLEY

I do not accept the statement of the hon. Gentleman. It is impossible to ascertain what number of people would be employed on this project until a geological survey has been carried out. The Government consider that the onus of undertaking a geological survey to show a satisfactory result rests upon the promoters and not with the Government.


Can my right hon. and gallant Friend say whether the shipping companies have ever been consulted as to whether they will use the canal if it is actually built?


Has my hon. and gallant Friend seen what the Balfour Report says about canals?

Colonel ASHLEY

This is hardly a canal. It is almost a Suez Canal, if I may put it in that way. As regards the shipping companies, I do not know whether the Committee on Reconstruction in 1918 consulted shipping companies. I do not think that they did.


Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman not aware that the shipping companies were originally consulted and that many favoured this scheme?

Colonel ASHLEY

I do not think so.

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