HC Deb 25 May 1954 vol 528 c205
40. Mr. Janner

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give an estimate of the amount of capital expenditure during the post-war period on coal production and on the production and distribution of gas and electricity, respectively; and the comparable figure so far as concerns capital expenditure on roads.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The figures of capital expenditure in the period 1948 to 1952 are: For coalmining, £152 million; gas, £177 million; and electricity, £676 million. Those figures include replacement of assets. The published figure for roads is £43 million, but to this should be added, for a valid comparison, the greater part of some £250 million spent on road maintenance during the period.

Mr. Janner

Is the Chancellor aware that more than £900 million has been borrowed by the Gas Council, the British Electricity Authority, and the British Transport Commission since 1948? Would he not agree that somewhat similar facilities ought to be made available for the modernisation of our highways, particularly those giving access to industrial centres, and also others, in view of the fact that there are so many accidents on those roads?

Mr. Butler

The hon. Member seems to have the figures for which he asked me in his original Question, because he has so carefully and accurately added them up. In regard to roads, recently the Government announced the more than doubling of the rate of road investment at the end of three years. I am of course aware that roads remain a primary source of anxiety and responsibility for us all. I must refrain from making any further statement until we see what resources are available.