HC Deb 24 February 1970 vol 796 c961
6. Sir R. Russell

asked the Minister of Transport if he is satisfied that the motorway programme for the future is extensive enough to keep pace with the estimated growth of traffic and the need to relieve existing congestion; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mulley

I am satisfied that the present inter-urban road programme, which is an all-time record, and our plans for a further expenditure of £2,250 million on motorways and other trunk roads will enable us to meet future traffic needs for the 1970s and 1980s.

Sir R. Russell

Is the Minister aware that our programme in comparison with those of most of our industrial competitors lags badly behind? Could he not give it a higher priority in the order of capital expenditure?

Mr. Mulley

The facts are that we are now spending approximately twice as much on roads as we were five or six years ago. Undoubtedly in the years before that there was a backlog of road building. This is the problem which we are now tackling and which we are trying to reduce. For example, both Germany and ourselves since 1964 have increased road spending by approximately 50 per cent.

Mr. John Lee

Is my right hon. Friend aware that most of us on this side of the House are very well satisfied with progress? [HON. MEMBERS: "0h."] Those of us in Berkshire look forward with pleasurable anticipation to the completion of the M4, which we certainly need. Can my right hon. Friend say for certain that there will be no further delays in that important sector?

Mr. Mulley

All the contracts are let and I have no reason to suppose that the road will not be completed on time.