HC Deb 22 February 1954 vol 524 cc33-4
63. Mr. Ernest Davies

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the cost of the commitments for major road improvements he proposes to authorise for 1954–55, 1955–56 and 1956–57 additional to the current expenditure of £5 million per annum; and the actual additional amount he anticipates will be expended on major road improvements during those years.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (Mr. Hugh Molson)

In 1954–55, 1955–56 and 1956–57 my right hon. Friend proposes, subject to agreement with local authorities in regard to schemes on classified roads, to authorise new commitments for major improvements on trunk and classified roads totalling respectively £19 million, £18 million and £13 million of Exchequer money, in respect of which the estimated annual payments will amount to about £1.7 million, £4 .5 million and £9.5 million respectively.

Exchequer payments on major road improvements in these years, whether already committed or new, are expected to be about £5 million in 1954–55, £7 million in 1955–56 and £12 million in 1956–57 as compared with payments of about £5 million in the current financial year.

Mr. Davies

Do not these figures indicate that the statements which have been made by the hon. Gentleman and his right hon. Friend have been rather misleading, and that by talking of entering into commitments for £50 million over the next few years a wrong impression is given, whereas these figures show that very little increase in expenditure on roads will take place in the coming financial year, a little more in the following year and a little more in the year after that, and that in sum the increase is negligible?

Mr. Molson

The only people who may be misled are people like the hon. Member, who do not realise the difference between commitments and actual payments.