HC Deb 23 March 1960 vol 620 cc495-6
24. Mr. Fletcher

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is now in a position to announce the plans of Her Majesty's Government with regard to building the proposed new tube from Victoria to North-East London.

Mr. Marples

No, Sir. As I told my hon. Friend the Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison) on 2nd March, the whole of the railway system, both underground and overground, is now being examined.

Mr. Fletcher

The Minister has now had for several weeks the Report of the London Travel Committee recommending this scheme, and pointing out its urgency. Surely, there is no need for him to await his general overall plan before deciding to implement this scheme, which is urgently required to remove the congestion in North-East London?

Mr. Marples

This must be considered in the general context of the British Transport Commission's position. The Commission is already incurring huge losses, which will be paid for by the taxpayer. This particular line will add to that loss, and I think, therefore, that to consider it in isolation would be folly.

Mr. Benn

Is the Minister really saying that there can be no basic decision taken by the Commission until this planning board has sat, deliberated, made its decisions and had them laid before the House? If that is the case, is not the Minister making the task of the Commission of fulfilling its statutory requirements under the earlier Acts quite impossible?

Mr. Marples

I do not think so. As a matter of fact, it may be possible to put a lot of the recommendations into effect without legislation. Others may require legislation. I do not think that we can look at this railway problem in isolation. It is folly to go into business and organise it in bits and pieces.

Mr. Albu

Is the Minister aware that the last Committee did not look at this in isolation but in connection with the whole problem of traffic difficulties in the London area; that the building of this new tube will relieve the traffic in the London area, in addition to providing very much needed travel facilities for people in North London?

Mr. Marples

That is one of the considerations, but not the only one.

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