HC Deb 22 June 1953 vol 516 cc1460-1
23. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Minister of Transport on what grounds he has again rejected the application of the Birmingham City Council to proceed with the widening and reconstruction of Digbeth and High Street, Deritend, Birmingham.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Purely on economic grounds, Sir.

Mr. Wyatt

Is the Minister aware that Birmingham is an industrial city, and on purely economic grounds it is rather important for the country that it should be able to do its job effectively of creating an export trade? Is he also aware that it cannot do so while it relies on a road system built in the 19th century which has not been improved since, and that the place is being throttled purely on economic grounds by the failure of the Minister to do anything about it?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

As I explained to the Lord Mayor and others who visited me, this is clearly one of the most important schemes in the Midlands and will rank very high, indeed, as soon as I have any funds available for major works of improvement generally.

Mr. Usborne

Will the Minister point out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that when he asks the country economically to be more efficient and produce more goods, road widening schemes in general and this one in particular are, in a sense, regarded as extensions of the economic conveyor belt, and it is quite absurd to put capital equipment into factories if we do not improve the roads that take the goods away which are produced there?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am in constant touch with my right hon. Friend, and occasionally I even use observations of that kind.