HC Deb 28 June 1960 vol 625 cc1140-1
37. Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if reductions are proposed to be made in construction of roads, piers, &c., and other public expenditure in Scotland as a result of the recent Government announcement.

Mr. Maclay

There are no proposals for cuts in roads and piers. As regards public expenditure generally, discussions are proceeding on the way in which to implement the decision announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 23rd June to hold the public sector investment programme for 1961–62 at the level of the current programme for the present financial year.

Mr. Grimond

Is the Secretary of State aware that in many public services Scotland is already behind and that any cut in or slowing down of the programme will have very serious effects, particularly in those places where, as I have said, the general social amenities already lag very much behind the rest of the country?

Mr. Maclay

The hon. Gentleman will be aware of the very considerable advance we have been making in recent years over the whole area of Scotland, and particularly in the far North, in relation to roads and piers. I should add that the special circumstances of Scotland will certainly be borne in mind in the discussions that are proceeding.

Mr. T. Fraser

Is the Secretary of State aware that less work is being done on road construction in Scotland than in any country in Western Europe, including the Republic of Ireland; and that none of those countries has anything like the need for roads that Scotland has? Is it not about time that he was really getting down to starting—not just telling us about what he will do in the future, but starting a real programme of road works in Scotland?

Mr. Maclay

If the hon. Gentleman will look at the work done in recent years he will see that it is rising steadily in every year, and I must remind him that there are such things as relevant priorities, a matter that was worrying his Government so much when last in office that they did virtually no work whatsoever on roads in Scotland.

Mr. Manuel

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Owing to the most unsatisfactory nature of the reply given by the right hon. Gentleman to the Question asked by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), I give notice that I will raise the matter, especially in connection with the road programme in Scotland, on the Adjournment at the earliest possible opportunity.