§ 42. Mr. CROWDER
asked the minister of Transport whether all the highway authorities who were invited by Circular No.419, Roads, dated 5th February, 1935, to submit for consideration a list of the schemes with which they were in a position to proceed immediately with the assistance of grants from the Road Fund, have submitted such a list of schemes; and what number or proportion of the highway authorites have submitted a complete programme of work of the years 1935–40 and have received approval thereof?
§ 40 and 41. Sir JOSEPH LAMB
asked the Minister of Transport (1) the amount o the payments, if any, which have been made out of the Road Fund during the year 1935–36 to highway authorities under grants for the purposes of the £100,000,000 five-year programme of road construction and improvement, and the amount estimated to be required for such payments out of the Road Fund during the financial year 1935–36;
(2) the estimated gross value to the nearest convenient date of the schemes submitted by highway authorities under the five-year programme, the estimated gross value of schemes approved for the purposes of grants from the Road Fund, and the highest and lowest percentages which will fall upon the Road Fund of the actual expenditure on those approved schemes?
§ 43 and 44. Captain STRICKLAND
asked the Minister of Transport (1) 2004 with reference to the recent Circular Letter, No. 466 (Roads), from his Department to highway authorities, whether he will specify the county areas which have been included in each of the groups A, B, and C, referred to in the circular, for the purposes of grants from the Road Fund at the respective percentages of 80, 75, and 66⅔ of the net cost of the works to be met by grant;
(2) whether the commencement of schemes of road construction and improvement which have been approved under the five-year programme of road works is being delayed in any cases owing to the unwillingness of the highway authorities concerned to provide out of their own resources the percentage of expenditure required from them as a condition of a grant from the Road Fund; and whether lie is willing, in certain circumstances, to increase the percentage of the Road Fund grant or to make a grant of the whole expense in order to secure the carrying out of works urgently required to accommodate increasing road traffic?
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
The total estimated cost of schemes included in the five-year programme submitted by highway authorities up to 30th April was £139,729,000. The total estimated cost of schemes approved for grant in the first year (i.e., 1935–36) was £26,650,000, in respect of which payments amounting to £1,654,323 were made out of the Road Fund for accounts actually presented. It is estimated that the corresponding figure for this year will be £4,820,000. The lowest and highest rates of grant are 33 per cent. and 85 per cent. respectively. In addition the Road Fund is to bear the entire cost of road works in the Crofter Counties of Scotland estimated at £4,250,000. I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT particulars of the counties falling in the various grant groups. and I will have prepared for circulation tables showing the progress made in the submission and approval of schemes under the five-year programme. The programme submitted exceeds in magnitude any previously submitted, and at this stage to vary the grants on which it was based, far from accelerating, would by creating indecision retard progress.
§ Mr. CROWDER
Can the Minister give an assurance that the proposal to divert 2005 the Road Fund to the Exchequer will not have any adverse effect on all these schemes?
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
Yes, Sir, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already given that undertaking. There will be no adverse effect.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
But of what value is that undertaking, seeing that an undertaking was given when the Road Fund was instituted that it would be reserved for the roads?