HC Deb 13 November 1957 vol 577 cc939-40
30. Mr. Hayman

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation why he refused permission for the construction of the Tamar Bridge to be proceeded with at all speed, since Parliament has sanctioned it and none of the cost will be borne by his Department.

Mr. Watkinson

This is a capital investment project for which the consent of the Treasury is necessary before the County of Cornwall and the City of Plymouth can exercise their powers to raise money by loan. I have told these authorities that in view of the higher priority of other schemes in the national road programme I would not be able to give any special support to an application to the Treasury for the Tamar Bridge in present circumstances.

Mr. Hayman

Will the Minister reconsider his decision? Financial speculative interests in London can build palatial offices which often appear to be unnecessary and yet here is a road bridge, sanctioned by Parliament and very badly needed, the construction of which is delayed by the Government.

Mr. Watkinson

I had the benefit of the advice of a very expert deputation from Cornwall and Plymouth. I told the deputation quite frankly what the position was and it was in no doubt of what its actions could be. On the whole, we had better leave it to the local authorities to decide what next move to make.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

Can the Minister tell us what next move they can possibly make to expedite the building of this bridge?

Mr. Watkinson

Certainly. They can put forward a project, and I will do my best to see that it is fairly considered.