HC Deb 13 November 1957 vol 577 cc934-5
7. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether, in order to make progress in increasing the productive effort of Tyneside, thus reducing costs, he will now agree to authorising the preliminary work on the Tyne Tunnel project.

23 and 24. Mr. Fernyhough

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation (1) if he will now state the approximate date when the Tyne Tunnel project will commence;

(2) if he will now grant the Tyne Tunnel Joint Committee permission to commence the preparatory work including the construction of the approach roads to the Tyne Tunnel.

Mr. Watkinson

I am not at this moment in a position to say when I shall be able to authorise this scheme, including the preparatory work.

Dame Irene Ward

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that the decision will not be very long delayed? Will he bear in mind that the North deserves a thoroughly good break, and will he give us one?

Mr. Watkinson

I will certainly do my best to come to a decision on this matter as quickly as possible, but it has been very difficult to fit it into my programme.

Mr. Fernyhough

Why cannot the Minister give us some idea when the project will be commenced? He must know the phasing of his programme over the next three years. Can he tell us whether the scheme will be included within the next two or three years? Furthermore, does he realise that if he gave permission for the approach roads to be commenced, this would be looked upon as a token of good faith in the North-East, which is becoming cynical about the matter?

Dame Irene Ward

It is not becoming cynical.

Mr. Watkinson

I am very sorry that the hon. Gentleman says that the North-East is becoming cynical. If he presses me for an answer at this moment, I can always reply "No." My position is that I am trying hard to fit the scheme in, but if I am pressed to give an answer at the moment, it will be "No."

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