§ 50. Mr. Medlicott
asked the Prime Minister whether it has yet been decided which Minister is to be made responsible for dealing with the problem of coast erosion.
§ The Prime Minister
Yes, Sir. His Majesty's Government have decided that the general responsibility for dealing with problems of coast protection shall rest with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Minister of Health. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries will, however, retain jurisdiction in regard to works on low-lying lands carried out by land drainage authorities in England and Wales. Legislation will be introduced as soon as Parliamentary time permits to increase the powers and duties of county borough and county district councils (in Scotland, town and county councils) in regard to coast protection, to authorise the payment of annual Exchequer grants in aid of future loan charges falling on them in respect of protective works commenced since VJ-Day, and to require county councils to make suitable contributions towards the cost of schemes of county district councils. Pending legislation, the authority of Parliament is being sought for the payment of such grants out of voted moneys, and county councils will be expected to make appropriate contributions. It will be realised that, in present conditions of labour and materials, only works of the most pressing urgency can be undertaken.