HC Deb 20 December 1967 vol 756 cc1236-7
2. Mr. Marks

asked the Minister of Transport how the Government's forecast of road expenditure in 1967–68 compares with the £470 million announced in December, 1963.

Mr. Swingler

In December, 1963, the Government forecast that public expenditure on roads in Great Britain in 1967–68. would total £470 million at Survey 1963 prices. Comparable expenditure this year at current Survey prices is expected to be about £560 million which, allowing for price increases since 1963, represents a real increase of more than £30 million over the original 1963 forecast.

Mr. Marks

I congratulate my hon. Friend on those figures. Will he bear in mind, in future expenditure, that the construction of relief roads through or around towns outside the conurbations was frequently postponed in the fifties and early sixties, an example being the A57, about which I have written to him? These roads will play an important part in keeping traffic flowing in the future.

Mr. Swingler

We will take into account the representations made by my hon. Friend. I am glad to be able to put these figures on the record to correct certain misleading impressions which have been given.

Mr. Fortescue

As Liverpool is the biggest export port in the country, and as most of its exports come from the Midlands, will the hon. Gentleman say why he considers any expenditure on roads to be more important than expenditure on a motorway link between the M6 and Merseyside?

Mr. Swingler

I think the hon. Gentleman will appreciate that there are many claims for connecting up to the main motorway network. Some of the most important conurbations are the industrial and exporting centres of the country. All these are urgently being considered, and in relation to their traffic value and their economic importance they are being assessed for the forward programmes.

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