HC Deb 14 July 1969 vol 787 cc28-9
33. Mr. Edward M. Taylor

asked the Minister of Transport what will be the estimated total amount of capital expenditure by British Railways in 1969; and by what percentage this figure exceeds or falls short of the 1964 actual capital spending figure at constant prices.

Mr. Carmichael

Rather less than £80 million. As my right hon. Friend said in his reply to the hon. Member on 3rd March, any direct comparison with earlier years is affected by the transfer, under the Transport Act, 1968, of some railway activities to the National Freight Corporation and the Scottish Transport Group. After taking account of the likely investment in these transferred activities, the overall reduction is now expected to be of the order of 23 per cent.—[Vol. 779, c. 18.]

Mr. Taylor

Is not the Minister ashamed of these figures, in which we have seen year by year a reduction in the amount of capital available to British Railways? Does not the Minister agree that the figures are woefully inadequate? Does he consider they will be adequate to enable British Railways to increase traffic and to increase revenue and to improve reliability and punctuality?

Mr. Carmichael

In present economic circumstances the British Railways Board is getting a fair share of national investment. It may interest hon. Members to know that railway investment per route mile is higher in 1969 than it was in 1964—that is, there is now a more efficient and more rational rail system. Investment per mile is higher than it was when hon. Members opposite were in power.