HC Deb 19 April 1967 vol 745 cc574-5
33. Mr. Bidwell

asked the Minister of Transport if she will conduct a cost benefit analysis of losses on railway lines proposed for closure in the future.

Mr. John Morris

My right hon. Friend already takes account of economic and social considerations before reaching her decision. In future, she will also have the advice of the special economic unit she is setting up in the Department. If its advice indicated that any additional studies were essential in a particular case, she would see that they were done.

Mr. Bidwell

While thanking my hon. Friend for giving that information, may I ask him to assure the Minister that the railway workers do not in the least mind the fact that she does not drive a motor car but rides a bike? Would he also convey this information to the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg)?

Sir C. Osborne

Before the Ministry agrees to the closing of further lines, would the Minister bear in mind the future industrial development of the areas concerned—areas such as North Lincolnshire—so that the Department does not close lines and then have to reopen them when these areas become fully industrialised?

Mr. Morris

My right hon. Friend certainly takes this point very much into account. That is why we now have the advice of the Economic Planning Council at every stage. This is done to ensure that not only present needs but future needs are considered. I therefore assure the hon. Gentleman that these matters are fully taken into account before a decision is reached.