§ 23 and 24. Mr. G. M. Thomson
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will make a statement on the progress being made with the preparatory work for a Tay road bridge;
(2) if it is now the policy of Her Majesty's Government to build a Tay road bridge at Dundee during the lifetime of the present Parliament.
§ Mr. N. Macpherson
The local authorities concerned have been holding discussions with interests which would be affected by the building of a bridge at Dundee and have been carrying out certain preliminary technical investigations. My right hon. Friend expects that he will 992 receive a full report on progress at a meeting with their representatives arranged for 11th December. It is our intention that a start should be made on this bridge within five years provided the local authorities concerned seek and obtain the necessary powers.
§ Mr. Thomson
Is the Minister aware that his Answer shows a deplorable lack of urgency? Will he give an assurance that he will give every support to tabling the Provisional Order in March, and getting it through Parliament as speedily as possible thereafter? Will he reconsider the second part of his Answer and state a strict date for the completion of this road bridge during the lifetime of the present Parliament?
§ Mr. Macpherson
The promotion of the Provisional Order is the first stage, and the plans have to be deposited at the same time as the Provisional Order. There is a good deal of engineering work to be done before the necessary plans can be prepared.
§ Mr. Strachey
Is the Under-Secretary aware that his Answer makes a most extraordinary contrast with the statements made by the Secretary of State for Scotland and others during the General Election when they promised an immediate start on the bridge?
§ Mr. McInnes
Surely the Under-Secretary of State realises that the Provisional Order procedure, which has now been changed, is designed to accelerate business, and here is a classic example for taking full advantage of that? Does he realise that, even if these engineering tests have to be made, it is a shocking state of affairs when a period of five years is mentioned?
§ Mr. Macpherson
We have not said that it will be five years; we say we hope that it will be within five years.