HC Deb 11 July 1968 vol 768 cc718-9
18. Mr. James Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs whether he will make a statement regarding the report of the Humber Feasibility Studies Unit before the beginning of the Summer Recess.

Mr. Urwin

No, Sir. The report has not yet been received.

Mr. Johnson

"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick." Is my hon. Friend aware that it is 12 months since statistics were sent to his Department? Can he really blame the people of Hull for thinking this to be shocking procrastination?

Mr. Urwin

I can appreciate my lion. Friend's concern, remembering the powerful advocacy made by him and many of my other hon. Friends. I am sure that he will appreciate that the Planning Unit was set up by the Central Unit and completed its work on the ground in August last year. But the Central Unit has since had to consider the mass of physical data gathered by the Physical Planning Unit and consider the economic aspects, as well as contemplating its own statistical and related work. This is quite a long exercise.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

Would the hon. Gentleman accept that what makes the heart sickest is the continued refusal of the Government to honour the pledge, given during the Hull by-election, to build a Humber bridge?

Mr. Urwin

I would assure the hon. Gentleman there is quite a long time yet for the honouring of the few election pledges which are as yet unhonoured. As to the Humber bridge, he will appreciate that it would be extremely foolish to take any decision about a project as large and important as this undoubtedly is in advance of the fullest possible appreciation of the area's prospects and potential. The essential preliminary work on wind-tunnel tests and trial borings is continuing and will not hold up work on the bridge once the go-ahead is given.