HC Deb 26 April 1966 vol 727 cc524-5
31. Mr. Rose

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will now give a decision on the Manchester Draft Water Order.

Mr. Crossman

I hope to announce my decision soon.

Mr. Rose

While I welcome that reply, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he is aware that there is considerable anxiety in the North-West over the delay in reaching this decision? The Manchester scheme is held up every day that the reply is held up. Will he also say what consideration is being given to the long-term water needs of the whole of the north-west area?

Mr. Crossman

I very much appreciate what Manchester representatives are feeling about this. I would tell my hon. Friend, as I said in answer to a Question before the General Election, that this is one of the most difficult issues that we have had in which amenity really has to be considered very carefully in supplying water to Manchester. As for the long-term needs, these are indeed being taken into account already.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

When the right hon. Gentleman gives his answer, will it apply to the long term as well as the short term? Can we have it all in one go without further bites at the cherry?

Mr. Crossman

No, Sir; that would be impossible. What I am dealing with is a Draft Order. We have to approve or disapprove the Order without Amendment, and the Order can deal only with the medium term. It will be made clear that the long-term provision has to be dealt with separately.

Mr. Mapp

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that to speak of "Manchester" here is very misleading? The Order has reference to about 31 authorities in the North-West leading up to the Lake District. Although the importance of Manchester is well understood, it is far more important for all the other authorities which will have powers arising out of the Order.

Mr. Crossman

My hon. Friend is quite right. What we call "the Manchester water need" is a need for a far greater area than Manchester, and I do not underestimate the urgency of the question.