HC Deb 28 June 1960 vol 625 cc1130-1
24. Mr. T. Fraser

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will increase the allocation of grant to Lanark County Council for schemes costing less than £100,000 on classified roads for the year 1960–61.

Mr. N. Macpherson

As the hon. Gentleman is aware, my right hon. Friend has recently told the county council that he is not in a position at present to determine whether any increase in the amount of grant tentatively allocated for Lanarkshire will be possible.

Mr. Fraser

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that some four years ago Lanark County Council had £123,000 allocated for schemes of less than £100,000 and that in the current financial year, if one leaves out of account the four bridges necessary to be reconstructed as a result of railway electrification, Lanark County Council—the largest county council in Scotland, with a population of 500,000—is left with the grand sum of £2,000? Does not the Joint Under-Secretary think it is a scandalous amount of money to be available for road schemes which will each cost under £100,000?

Mr. Macpherson

The hon. Gentleman has left out of account altogether the schemes for East Kilbride which fall to be considered in line with the amount which is available to Lanarkshire in regard to the total amount to be spent in Scotland on schemes of this description. At that time there was an abnormal amount available for schemes costing less than £100,000 in Scotland, and, indeed, it has been necessary to divert a little more of the total sum available to trunk road schemes. The net amount of £2,000 is after budgeting for the amount in East Kilbride, as well as for the four bridges to which the hon. Gentleman referred.

Mr. Fraser

Is the hon. Gentleman also aware that the £123,000 allocated in 1956–57 was the sum left over after the amount for the East Kilbride development was taken into account? Why should the County of Lanarkshire be restricted in the amount of road work it can do because any Secretary of State has decided to go ahead with the new town of East Kilbride, which is in one corner of Lanarkshire, whereas these other four bridges are all in the part of Lanarkshire which abuts on the City of Glasgow where rail electrification is taking place? There is a population of 500,000 in that part of Lanarkshire in respect of which the sum of £2,000 is available for road schemes under £100,000.

Mr. Macpherson

The fact remains that, while the population of Lanarkshire is about one-tenth of the population of Scotland, the amount under this heading available to Lanarkshire is just under one-tenth of the total amount available.

Mr. Ross

The whole total is ridiculous.