HC Deb 21 June 1961 vol 642 cc1461-2
34. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Transport whether, in the light of the Press comment issued by his Department on 6th June indicating that the proposals of the British Road Federation for the doubling of capital spending on the road programme would have to be considered against the similar large sums required for other national developments, he will now state whether it will be possible for him to announce before the Summer Recess any further plans for large scale road developments in this country over the next five years.

Mr. Marples

I have already this year announced motorway starts costing over £46½ million in all. I have also informed highway authorities that I am prepared to consider classified road schemes over the next three years costing more than £100 million in grant. I have at present no further announcement to make.

Mr. Nabarro

Has my right hon. Friend studied the implications of the statement made yesterday by the Chancellor of the Exchequer contemplating a curtailment of public expenditure? In view of the important productive contribution made by motorways, will he represent to the Chancellor that the new road programme should not in any way be curtailed, and, if possible, should be expanded in the interests of production and of our export industries?

Mr. Marples

I will see that my right hon. and learned Friend has a note of that supplementary question so that he can take it into account.

Mr. Strauss

While accepting that there is to be an increase in the number of new roads started, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is satisfied that the present programme is adequate for the needs of the country?

Mr. Marples

The right hon. Gentleman must remember that it is not only a question of cash allocation but also of the resources available. Recently, in certain parts of the country where there is full employment, it has proved difficult to get suitable tenders.