§ 29. Sir C. CAYZER
asked the Minister of Transport what are the total profits, after deducting maintenance charges, from tolls on the Menai Bridge to the latest available date; whether this sum is being set aside as a reserve against the liability of reconstruction at some future date; by what date an adequate reserve will have been established for this purpose; and whether he can give an assurance that the bridge will be freed from tolls after such date in order that it may be made clear that the Ministry of Transport, as a toll-owning authority, does not wish to make unnecessary profits out of its ownership of this toll bridge?
Menai Bridge was built out of loans advanced by the Exchequer, which have not been repaid. The balance of receipts from tolls over current expenditure in recent years has been carried to a reserve fund, which now amounts to about £95,000, with the object of providing 957 for the liability of future renewal or reconstruction. While I have been glad to make substantial reductions in certain of the tolls, I regret that I am unable to give any assurance as to the freeing of the bridge from tolls or, in present circumstances, to fix a maximum for the reserve fund.
§ Sir C. CAYZER
In view of the fact that this bridge is part of the King's highway, and is the only road entrance to the Isle of Anglesea, will the Minister consider the question of making it a national charge and making up the difference by advances out of the Road Fund?
My hon. Friend will appreciate that hitherto that locality has been in a very favourable position as regards this matter. Whereas other authorities have built bridges with their own money and have incurred loan charges on the rates, the inhabitants of Anglesea have not had to meet these charges, and the sum has been made up by tolls.
§ Sir ARTHUR MICHAEL SAMUEL
Is the Minister aware that this matter was looked into last year or the year before by the Public Accounts Committee and that there is probably some evidence available which may be of assistance to my hon. Friend the Member for Chester (Sir C. Cayzer)?