§ 55. Mr. MARKHAM
asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that many of the highway authorities allege that the time occupied in correspondence and the long intervals that elapse in getting replies to inquiries addressed to his Department is a principal reason for the delay in commencing road work; and whether he will investigate the procedure adopted and the time taken in correspondence and reference backward and forward between highway authorities, his own Department, the Treasury, and the Ministry of Health with a view to reducing delays, duplication and overlapping, and to relieve Whitehall by placing more responsibility for executive decisions on the men on the spot, namely, the responsible officers of the local authorities acting in consultation with his own district engineers?
§ Mr. HERBERT MORRISON
The procedure adopted in dealing with applications from local authorities is kept under review, with the object of expediting 423 the progress of works. At the recent conferences with local authorities in London and at Edinburgh, there has been a frank interchange of views and a number of useful suggestions have been made. As a result, further steps are being taken to speed up procedure, even to the extent of omitting checks with which under normal conditions it would not be advisable to dispense. Delays would often be avoided or reduced if local authorities themselves were to furnish more adequate information as to the precise nature and probable cost of the schemes when they submit their proposals.