HC Deb 06 July 1932 vol 268 cc436-7

asked the Prime Minister how many copies of the report of the expert sub-committee on the Severn barrage are necessary in order to enable this report to be considered by the Economic Advisory Council; for what reason it has been found necessary to incur the expense of having this report printed; and whether, in the event of the Economic Advisory Council concluding that the Severn barrage is definitely an uneconomic proposition, he will take steps to prevent any further expenditure being incurred by the publication of the report?

The LORD PRESIDENT of the COUNCIL (Mr. Baldwin)

It would be contrary to established practice to give such information as is asked for in the first two parts of the question. I am sure, however, that the council fully appreciate the need for economy in its secretarial arrangements, and I can assure my hon. Friend that if the circumstances contemplated in the last part of the question arise, his point will be borne in mind.


Will the right hon. Gentleman keep in mind the very great interest which is taken in this matter, not only in the district immediately affected, but in South Wales generally?


Is the right hon. Gentleman not satisfied that sufficient time has elapsed and sufficient money has been spent for exploring all the possibilities of this scheme; and, in the interest of economy, will he definitely consider whether any further expenditure should be made?


In answer to that question, no decision has yet been arrived at as to whether the report will be published, but I would remind my hon. Friend that this is a subject which for many years excited a great deal of interest, particularly in the West Country and in Wales. It was thought by the Government of that day that a question of such importance ought to be thoroughly investigated, to see if it would be possible to carry out this great scheme. I believe that the conclusions are that it is impracticable, but it may be that a strong feeling will be expressed that the reasons for those conclusions ought to be preserved, for the benefit of the Members of this House who sanctioned the expenditure in the past, and for future generations.