HC Deb 21 June 1960 vol 625 cc210-1
36. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the principles which limit the expenditure on new roads in Scotland to less than the work that could be done by existing available labour and equipment.

Mr. N. Macpherson

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister told the hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Holt) in reply to a Question on 26th April, the size of the road programme is determined in relation to all other demands on our resources.

Mr. Woodburn

As the making of roads is a matter of labour and materials, and as labour and materials are available in Scotland, is there any reason, in common sense, why we should not use them? Is it not the case that there is a false idea that book-keeping should decide whether or not people can work? We need these roads through Scotland. The labour is there, and I am told that valuable plant is lying idle. Is there any reason why the Government should not use their power to bring these three factors together and to institute a very much increased programme of new roads in Scotland?

Mr. Macpherson

We are using the labour and equipment. The real test is our expenditure on improvements, which was £2½ million four years ago and is running at £10 million this year.

Mr. Ross

It is not running; it is crawling.