HC Deb 10 June 1959 vol 606 cc975-6
5. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will move to appoint a Select Committee, or set up a Departmental Committee, to investigate and report on the need to modernise the Manchester Ship Canal with special reference to finance, the need to cater for larger and modern ships, new locks, lighting, port facilities, new quays at Barton Docks Estate, and other places, and the need to link up the Ship Canal with the large industrial area in a modern form.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (Mr. John Hay)

These are matters for the Manchester Ship Canal Company and I see no grounds for such a committee.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that some of us were employed on dieselisation and electrification equipment for railways all over the world, continuing at that work for years while seeing our own railways become out of date? Will he stand idly by and allow that sort of thing to happen to undertakings like the Manchester Ship Canal?

Mr. Hay

No, Sir. It would not happen with the Manchester Ship Canal at all. Since the Canal was first instituted, some £27 million have been spent on its development, including £13 million spent since the war. We work fairly closely with the company, and our information is that the company is using every opportunity it can find to modernise and re-equip the port wherever it can. As I said in the Answer, we see no reason to have an inquiry as the hon. Member suggests.

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