HC Deb 31 July 1963 vol 682 cc424-5
31. Mr. Swingler

asked the Minister of Transport If he will state, for each motorway so far constructed, his original estimate of the cost of the land required, the actual price paid, and the total figure by which his estimates have been exceeded on account of the higher cost of land.

Mr. Galbraith

With permission, I will circulate a table of motorway land costs in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I regret that it would not be possible to calculate how much of the total increases of costs over estimates is attributable to higher land values without a disproportionate expenditure of time and labour.

Mr. Swingler

Is the Minister aware that he did this for me in the case of the M.6 and it worked out that an extra £500,000 had been added to the estimate on account of higher land prices? Would he and the Minister therefore investigate this matter, because there appears to be good evidence that there is profiteering at the nation's expense?

Mr. Galbraith

If the hon. Gentleman looks at the figures which are to be circulated, he will see that there is a lot more in land costs than just the price of the land. For example, there is the new basis of valuation and compulsory purchase under the 1959 Act. Sometimes additional land is required for hard shoulders, as for example on the M.1. Often there are wide and unforeseeable variations in the payments made for disturbance. All that is reflected in the land cost. But it is not necessarily the price of the land.

Mr. Swingler

Is the Minister aware that my Question clearly asks what is the higher price which the Ministry has paid—which came to £500,000 in the case of the M.6—compared with what was estimated? That is the answer in which we are interested and may we have it?

Mr. Galbraith

If the hon. Gentleman looks at what I propose to circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT, I think he will find that it answers his Question.

Following are the figures:

Estimate before negotiations began Cost of Acquisition
£'000 (a) £'000 (a), (b)
M.1 London-Crick (Northants) 211 774
M.10 St. Alban's By-pass 80 251
M.2 Medway Towns Motor Road 225 311
M.20 Maidstone By-pass 89 59
M.4 Slough By-pass 48 220
Maidenhead By-pass 75 91
M.5 Lydiate Ash-Twyning 175 238
M.50 Ross Spur 72 172
M.6 Lancaster By-pass 120 66
Preston By-pass 98 133
Lancashire Section 448 698
Staffordshire Section 198 304
A.1(M) Doncaster By-pass 106 114
Stevenage By-pass 35 98
Totals 1,980 3,529
(a) Neither estimates nor costs cover accommodation works, reinstatement of fences, etc.
(b) Where final settlements have not yet been made the latest estimates have been included.

Note.—In addition to higher land values other factors have contributed to the increases such as:—

(i) New basis of valuation for compulsory purchases (Town and Country Planning Act, 1959).

(ii) Certificates of alternative development (Town and Country Planning Act, 1959).

(iii) Additional land required, e.g. M.1 hard shoulders.

(iv) Obligation to buy whole properties.

(v) Wide and unforeseeable variation of payments for disturbance.