HC Deb 23 July 1958 vol 592 cc419-20
49. Mr. Ernest Davies

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what conclusion he has now reached in regard to the construction and financing of the projected Victoria line tube.

Mr. Watkinson

It has not yet been possible to allocate to this project any of the capital available to the Commission. The line would be costly to construct, and has no prospect of paying its way. It would, however, make a valuable contribution to London travel, and I intend to keep the project under review with the Commission with the object of including it in the Commission's programme as soon as resources permit.

Mr. Ernest Davies

In view of the experience during the bus strike, when the Underground was used to far greater capacity and thereby relieved surface traffic considerably, does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that the construction of this tube would bring very considerable relief to traffic congestion in London; and that, therefore, it deserves to be given the utmost possible priority, in spite of the heavy cost, because, in the long run, it would probably be worth while?

Mr. Watkinson

As I have said, I am certainly anxious to keep it under review, because I do know of its traffic importance.

Mr. Strauss

The Minister says that he will examine the project, and keep it under review in the hope of allowing it to proceed as soon as resources permit. Does not that depend entirely on the decision of the Government?

Mr. Watkinson

The position is that the British Transport Commission has a very large capital investment programme, and we have only recently accelerated that portion of it which appears to bring the quickest and most profitable return. This scheme, unfortunately does nothing but increase the Commission's loss.

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