HC Deb 27 June 1962 vol 661 cc1147-9
8. Mr. Albu

asked the Minister of Transport whether he has now completed his review of the proposals for the Victoria line underground railway; and whether he will make a statement.

36. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Minister of Transport if he will now announce a date for the starting of the Victoria underground line.

Mr. Marples

No, Sir. I regret that I have nothing to add at this stage to the Answer I gave to the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) on 3rd May.

Mr. Albu

How much longer will it take the Minister to accept the conclusions of every impartial committee which has considered this line, that it would not only make an enormous contribution to the solution of the traffic problems of London but would lead also to a great saving of money? Is it not time that the Minister made up his mind that the line must be built sooner or later, and that it had better be started at once?

Mr. Marples

Perhaps we can discuss this in the debate which follows Question Time.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that, apart from the views of people in north-east London, there is also some agitation for this line from those who live on the south-west of London and come to Victoria? Will he bear in mind that, if it is difficult to spend money on roads in London, it might well be better to spend some of the money underground as well as on top?

Mr. Marples

I assure my hon. Friend that I shall give great attention to the agitation in the North-East, in the South-West and in the East and in the West.

Mr. Fletcher

Does not the Minister realise that the construction of this tube is indispensable to the solution of the problem of traffic congestion not only in north London but in central London also since the provision of an additional tube going through central London would ease congestion both above and below ground? What excuse can there be for delaying the project further?

Mr. Marples

The difficulty is the high capital cost and the fact that it will make a loss.

Mr. J. Harvey

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the construction will take several years once a decision is reached and that the whole of northeast London, therefore, hopes that he will come to an early decision on the matter?

Mr. Marples

I quite realise the urgency, but the House must understand that these great capital projects, if they make a revenue loss, will cause an increasing drain on the Exchequer, and everyone keeps asking the Government to reduce expenditure.

Mr. Popplewell

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what is the cause of the delay? He has had the particulars of this scheme before him for many months. The London Transport Executive is prepared to go ahead and to let tenders as soon as it gets the "all clear" from him. What is the real reason for the long time lag before he comes to a decision one way or the other?

Mr. Marples

Cash, and the constant complaints of this House that we are spending too much money in the Government.

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