HC Deb 05 March 1963 vol 673 cc200-1
Q3. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the Prime Minister whether he has now reconsidered the question of the imposition of tolls on the Forth Road Bridge; and if he will make a statement.

Q12. Mr. Gourlay

asked the Prime Minister if he has now considered the representations made to him regarding the elimination of tolls on the Forth Road Bridge; and whether he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

I have noted the representations made by the local authorities concerned with the Forth Bridge to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland last month but I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) on 13th December last.

Mr. Hamilton

Does the Prime Minister mean by that that the Government refuse to accede to the request of people of all political persuasions that the threat of tolls on this bridge should be withdrawn? Can he tell the House on what principles the Government are seeking to finance this and other projects? Is the Prime Minister aware that this is the only part of the trunk road system from Inverness to London on which one has to pay a toll? The tunnel under the Clyde, certain tunnels under the Thames, the tunnel under Hyde Park and the M.1 are all toll-free. Where is the consistency of Government policy in this matter?

The Prime Minister

This has been the policy since it was announced in 1955, which is that tolls should be applied to large and costly bridges and tunnels which effect particularly great savings in time and distance.

Mr. Gourlay

Is the Prime Minister aware that his previous Answer was a complete refusal of the request of the local authorities to remove these toll charges? Is he further aware of the great resentment caused in Scotland arising from the fact that many people in the prosperous South can use the Chiswick flyover, the Hammersmith flyover and the M.1, which cost millions of pounds, without having to pay any tolls, and yet, because a flyover in Scotland happens to cross the River Forth, the Scottish people, who are suffering from economic hardship, will have to pay every time they cross it? When will the Prime Minister mete out real justice to Scotland and eliminate the unfair discrimination that is going on at the present time?

The Prime Minister

As I said, this is the policy which was announced in 1955, and has gone on ever since.

Mr. Hamilton

On a point of order. In view of the thoroughly unsatisfactory nature of those Answers, I give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment a week tonight.

Forward to