HC Deb 19 July 1961 vol 644 cc1235-6
38. Sir W. Wakefield

asked the Minister of Transport far how many miles of new motorway contracts have been placed since 30th April this year; for how many miles further contracts will be placed before 31st December, 1961; how many miles of motorway are now under construction; and what steps he is taking to expedite construction on those roads where a line is already fixed or proposed.

The Minister of Transport (Mr. Ernest Marples)

Since 30th April this year contracts have been placed for 50 miles of new motorway. I hope that contracts for major bridge and tunnel works on the routes of a further 30 miles will be placed by the end of this year. About 170 miles are now under construction.

I am going ahead, as fast as statutory procedures and availability of funds permit, with the detailed preparation on all projects for which lines have been fixed. Preliminary work is meanwhile in hand on some 420 miles of proposed motorway for which lines have not yet been established.

Sir W. Wakefield

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that the result to date of the provision of M.1 and other road improvements has been a reduction in accidents and a great saving of time as well as a general improvement? In view of these facts, will he do his utmost to extend even further the work in hand for the future.

Mr. Marples

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Strauss

Can the Minister say whether he is being held up in any way from launching a bigger programme by the absence of road-making equipment, civil engineers or manpower?

Mr. Marples

The limiting factor generally is skilled labour, especially in the urban areas.

Mr. Pargiter

Will the Minister assure us that anything that his right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer may say next Tuesday will not affect the programme?

Mr. Marples

As I do not know what my right hon. and learned Friend is proposing to say next Tuesday, I do not think that I can give that assurance.

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