The cost in 1952–53 was £10,743. Since the work was suspended in 1939 the total costs incurred have been £102,000 for maintenance of the pilot tunnel and plant, £22,000 for engineers' fees and £5,000 for the Dartford Tunnel Committee's expenses.
I agree it is most unfortunate that these large sums have to be paid out annually. As the hon. Gentleman knows, the work was suspended in 1939. The Socialist Government decided that it could be recommenced in 1946 but, a year later, came to the conclusion that it would again have to be 1463 postponed. We endorse that decision until such time as economic conditions improve.
§ Mr. Renton
Could my hon. Friend say whether, apart from the cost of maintenance, there is any loss due to deterioration in the condition of the Dartford-Purfleet Tunnel?
The amount spent up-to-date on land and works is about £750,000; £100,000 has been spent on maintenance. I am advised that on present-day values the land, pilot tunnel and preparatory works on the main tunnel are probably worth about £1½ million.
We are always prepared to meet deputations to discuss the subject, but I should not like the hon. Member to be given the impression that we are likely to proceed to spend £7 million on this one project.