HC Deb 24 February 1965 vol 707 cc378-9
17. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what assistance he proposes to offer to the local authorities concerned in meeting increases in the estimated cost of the Tay Road Bridge.

46. Mr. Adam Hunter

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the nature of the assistance which local authorities now receive in building the Tay Road Bridge; and what plans he has for assisting them further.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

The Tay Road Bridge Order, 1962, enables the joint board to borrow £1½million from the Government towards capital expenditure of £4½ million.

I cannot yet say how any increase above this sum will be met, but my right hon. Friend expects to start discussing the matter with the joint board quite soon.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Will the hon. Member try to ensure that this is treated as a matter of some urgency? Is he aware that many Members of the party opposite criticised the previous Government for failing to make a direct grant towards the cost of this bridge? If the Government pursue the same policy, is the hon. Member aware that his right hon. Friend is liable to cause considerable embarrassment to his hon. Friends?

Dr. Mabon

I can assure the hon. Member that the officials of my Department are already in touch with the Board about this matter, and are trying to resolve the initial questions before my right hon. Friend meets the Board. I would point out to the hon. Member that the present Government are working within the Tay Road Bridge Order, 1962. The mechanism was devised by our predecessors and we are obliged to stay within it.

Mr. Hunter

Is my hon. Friend aware that his reply will give some satisfaction? Is he also aware that the fact that some negotiation is intended is very satisfying?

Dr. Mabon

I thank my hon. Friend.