HC Deb 12 February 1930 vol 235 cc415-8

asked the Minister of Transport whether, seeing


The answer contains a statement in tabular form, and with the hon. and gallant Members permission I will circulate it, therefore, in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

The answer to the first part of the question is that as from 1st April next the rates of subsistence allowance are being revised and in general reduced. As regards the second part, the following are the existing and proposed scales:

that in response to a pressing appeal, dated 9th July, 1929, from his Ministry to submit a programme of road construction and improvement in order to alleviate unemployment, the Somerset County Council submitted, among others, a scheme for a new road from Holbrook House to Lattiford, in the rural district of Wincanton, which has been under consideration for five years, and that this scheme has been before the Ministry since last July, he can give an early decision as to the grant, without which the scheme cannot go forward?

The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

A scheme for the construction of a new road from Holbrook House to Lattiford has been approved in principle for a grant from the Road Fund, and a revised estimate of the cost was received in my Department on the 6th February. The engineering details are now being examined and I hope shortly to be in a position formally to make a grant.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that these delays, in this case as much as seven months, not only discourage local authorities in their efforts to meet his views, but also discourage them in their efforts to help the Lord Privy Seal in the task which he has before him?


In view of the assumption in the hon. and gallant Member's question, the House had better have the facts. The scheme is an old one. It was revived by a formal application made to the Ministry in October last and transmitted to the divisional road engineer, who reported in January. It was then observed that the scheme had been submitted on the basis of an old estimate, and the divisional road engineer was asked for a report giving revised costs. These have now been obtained, and the scheme has been amended since it was first submitted. In the past, the scheme has not been regarded as sufficiently urgent to warrant priority being given for the purpose of assistance from the limited funds made available in past years for work of this character.


asked the Minister of Transport what steps are being taken by his Department, in view of the approach of the road repairing season, to influence local authorities to place their requirements for road material so that the recommendations to use entirely British plant and material, contained in the circular letter 1,060 of the Ministry of Health, will be adopted in practice?


It is now a condition of all grants from the Road Fund towards the cost of works expedited for the relief of unemployment that all materials shall so far as practicable, have their origin in the United Kingdom and all manu- factured articles shall have been manufactured in the United Kingdom subject, however, to such exceptions as I may find to be necessary or desirable in any particular case having regard to all the circumstances, including the comparative prices of home and foreign articles. Failing the purchase of the necessary supplies from sources within the United Kingdom, products of the overseas Empire should be used wherever possible. I am about to issue a circular letter on the subject to highway authorities.

Colonel ASHLEY

Has it not always been the practice in the case of works expedited for the relief of unemployment that British materials should be used as far as possible?


I believe that is so.


Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the exception to which he has referred will be brought to his notice?


Special notice is taken of any cases of exception.