HC Deb 23 March 1953 vol 513 cc460-1
8. Mr. H. Hynd

asked the Minister of Transport why he has reduced the grant for maintenance work on classified roads in Lancashire for the coming financial year instead of increasing it to meet rising costs of wages and materials, necessary resurfacing and essential safety measures.

7. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of Transport whether he has received and considered the resolution passed by the Lancashire County Highways Committee on 11th March, 1953, protesting at his action in reducing the road grants for Lancashire; and what action he proposes to take.

Mr. Braithwaite

My right hon. Friend has considered with sympathy the resolution passed by the Lancashire County Highways Committee. He much regrets that the urgent need for economy in Government expenditure has meant a reduction in the total amount which he has available for assisting in 1953–54 the maintenance and minor improvement of classified roads. We have done our best to give Lancashire its fair share of the reduced total.

Mr. Hynd

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that even to maintain the existing inadequate maintenance will require 10 per cent. more than the current year's expenditure? In a county where there were 20,000 casualties on the roads last year, would not the hon. Gentleman agree that it would be false economy to cut down maintenance costs in this way?

Mr. Braithwaite

Yes, Sir, but if hon. Members representing Lancashire constituencies feel a grievance on this matter, I would remind them that the only major improvement scheme in the country that has been approved by my right hon. Friend is in that county, and is for the Runcorn-Widnes Transporter Bridge, at a total cost of £½ million, with the Government finding 75 per cent.

Mr. K. Thompson

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that the question relates particularly to maintenance? Can he give an assurance that he will not allow road users in Lancashire to be exposed to the hazards which can be avoided by proper maintenance?

Mr. Braithwaite

We do our best for all parts of the country.