§ 3. Mr. W. Hamilton
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give an estimate of the cost of providing the 1046 roads which will be necessary to provide alternative transport to meet the implementation of the recommendations of the British Railways Board on the reshaping of British Railways.
§ 27. Mr. Willis
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland to what extent he proposes to expand the road programme in Scotland in order to meet the demand for additional road services which will be created by the proposed rail closures.
§ Mr. Noble
My right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport has explained the statutory procedure which applies to proposed passenger closures. Until this procedure has been followed out in individual cases, it is impossible to anticipate what additional highway expenditure may be necessary. Meanwhile, I am making a preliminary examination of the possible effect of individual closure proposals.
§ Mr. Hamilton
How can the Government assess whether or not closures will be economic if they do not have, and are not seeking, the information that is asked for in this Question? Does not the Secretary of State realise that literally hundreds of millions of £s would be needed to produce the roads that would be required if the Beeching proposals were implemented? Does he not also recognise that this is a foolish way, and a very narrow way, of looking at the transport problems of Scotland as a whole?
§ Mr. Noble
I appreciate, of course, that the two things are connected, but I listened to most of the debate yesterday and the day before, and I have the feeling that even if I had been able to provide all the information for which the hon. Gentleman asks, he would only have turned round and said that it meant that I intended closing every line.
§ Mr. Willis
But is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that his right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport told us nothing—that it was a political speech? Is he not also aware that his right hon. Friend also indicated last night that the Beeching proposals will commence coming into operation at once? In view of that, is it not time that the Secretary of State had some information about what the alternatives will be?