HC Deb 26 May 1949 vol 465 cc1433-4
11. Mr. Sidney Shephard

asked the Minister of Health how many rural water schemes are at present in course of being carried out; and how many have been approved but are awaiting permission to proceed.

Mr. Bevan

Since the end of the war, 1,730 rural water supply schemes have been authorised to proceed. I cannot state without individual inquiry how many of these schemes have been completed. In addition, to date, 199 schemes have been approved in outline. Thirty-three of these schemes have reached the stage at which the promoters have been authorised to call for tenders.

Mr. Shephard

Is it not a fact that many of these schemes which have been approved by the right hon. Gentleman's Department have been waiting for months for leave to proceed with the work? Would he not give an assurance that in the cases where labour and materials are available leave to proceed with these schemes shall be given forthwith?

Mr. Bevan

That is always done. I think that the evidence that we are proceeding with the utmost expedition in this matter is to be found in the fact that since 1945 schemes have been put in hand and approved equal to the numbers in 20 years before the war.

Mr. J. H. Hare

Will the right hon. Gentleman do his utmost to make available greater supplies of piping which are the big drawback to the active prosecution of these schemes? Will he see that a high priority is given for supplies of piping for this purpose?

Mr. Bevan

Certainly. We are giving all the priority we can. We would not have needed to give so much priority today if it had been given previously.