HC Deb 19 March 1953 vol 513 cc202-3
28. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Minister of Health if he will make special capital allocations for the provision of hospitals in new towns to those regional boards which include one or more new towns within their area.

Mr. Iain Macleod

My Department's total capital allocation for the current year is too small to permit of this, but I have these special needs in mind for action when circumstances permit.

Mr. Robinson

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is quite impossible for regional boards to make provision from scratch for these large new communities out of their normal capital allocation? Is he further aware that the North-West Metropolitan Regional Board has five new towns in its area and cannot begin to tackle this problem unless it is dealt with specially by the Ministry?

Mr. Macleod

Certainly I am aware that that board, of which the hon. Member is a member, has five new towns in its area, and I agree that this is a problem which can only be financed from central funds. The building of a hospital is too big an undertaking for a regional board. However, as it becomes possible to build new hospitals, I have to balance the needs of new towns with many other crowded areas. It is fair to remind the hon. Member that not a single new general hospital has been built in England and Wales since before the war.

Mr. Braine

Would my right hon. Friend particularly bear in mind the position of the county of Essex where we have not only two new towns but various L.C.C. estates, with a consequent great influx of population?

Mr. Macleod

Yes, and as far as possible I try to bear the needs of all areas in mind.

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