HC Deb 15 December 1971 vol 828 cc437-8
10. Mr. Awdry

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what capital investment plans are to be brought forward in order to provide employment in the transport industry; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 23rd November.—[Vol. 826, c. 1165–6.]

Mr. Awdry

While that is a welcome statement, does my hon. Friend agree that industrialists need continuity of orders so that they can plan ahead? Has my hon. Friend any proposal to produce a national plan for transport dealing with all aspects of road and rail policy?

Mr. Griffiths

I recognise the need for industrialists to be able to plan forward. My right hon. Friend has a plan for total transport policy.

Mr. David Stoddart

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that at present, I believe due to the shortage of plans as well as to the shortage of money, British Rail workshops are having to make 1,300 of my constituents redundant in the next 18 months? Will he reconsider the matter and have firm discussions with British Rail about what the Government can do to help in getting British Rail to build rolling stock and locomotives in advance of requirements?

Mr. Griffiths

I recognise the difficulties in the hon. Gentleman's constituency of Swindon. He should remember, however, that British Rail is bringing forward substantial new investment in rolling stock, averting 400 redundancies at York and generating 300 new jobs mainly in the North-West. It is planning two new ferries for the Isle of Wight, which are probably to be built on Tyneside. London Transport is ordering new trains for the Northern Line, thereby preventing 500 redundancies in Birmingham. My right hon. Friend's other programmes are helping in employment substantially among those who make transport equipment for the nationalised industries.

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