HC Deb 22 May 1950 vol 475 cc1640-1
63. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Transport whether his attention has been called to the report of the county surveyor of Worcestershire that many miles of minor roads in the county are in danger of becoming impassable, in view of the growing volume of heavy traffic and the fact that the arrears of the war years have not yet been overtaken; and, in view of the fact that the majority of the work required cannot be satisfactorily dealt with by mechanisation, what plans he has for assisting the authorities in that county in the better maintenance of their roads.

Mr. Barnes

I have only seen a Press reference to this Report. If the hon. Member has financial assistance in mind, I have no powers to give such assistance towards the maintenance of unclassified roads in counties.

Mr. De la Bère

Is the Minister aware that the report of the county surveyor is a very accurate and a very good one in every way? Is he further aware that the matter cannot be dismissed, and that he will have to do something about it?

Mr. Barnes

I have frequently admitted the difficulty with regard to the funds at my disposal, in maintaining roads at an adequate standard. The situation of the limited funds at my disposal is known to all county surveyors, and we have had to do the best we can about it.

Mr. Nabarro

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these public roads are shortly likely to undergo further devastation as a result of heavy civil engineering machinery being conveyed for use in opencast coal mining. Will he stop it?

Mr. Mitchison

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this is the second time he has been urged by hon. Members opposite to spend money which by Act of Parliament he is not allowed to spend?