HC Deb 18 June 1975 vol 893 cc1367-8
1. Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what effects he estimates cuts in expenditure will have on road works in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Mr. Bruce Millan)

As part of the general need to control public expenditure the total amount of money available for roads has been reduced. The entire programme is being kept under review and start of work has been deferred on some schemes.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his reply. As the plans for the proposed outer city bypass at Edinburgh between Colin-ton and Fairmilehead have already been approved, will the right hon. Gentleman consider approving the plans for the rest of the outer city bypass which would skirt the centre of population in Edinburgh? Will he permit work on this project to begin as soon as practicable?

Mr. Millan

As far as I am aware we are not holding up any project in Edinburgh at present. Progress on the outer city bypass is now a matter for the Lothian Regional Council which will, no doubt, be considering this proposal and scheme in relation to the other matters which it has to take into account when it formulates its transport policies and programmes.

Mr. Buchanan

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on his accession to the Privy Council. The right hon. Gentleman opened the Monkland motorway a few weeks ago. The opening of such motorways creates as many problems as it solves. In any further cuts in expenditure will he ensure that improvements in the Provan interchange feeding on to the Monkland motorway will in no way be restricted?

Mr. Millan

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for what he said. He will know that the second phase of the Monkland motorway will proceed. To my knowledge, it has not been called into question.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I also congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on joining the Privy Council. I understand what he said about cuts in the road programme, but can he assure the House that in areas where oil-related developments are taking place—because, after all, the future prosperity of our country will depend on what takes place in these areas—road programmes will not be cut? In addition, will he give an assurance that procedures for approving projects in these areas will proceed expeditiously and will not be delayed with an intention of reducing expenditure?

Mr. Millan

Certainly any reductions in expenditure will be made cleanly. There is no question of using administrative or other delays to achieve what we have in mind. I can give an assurance that oil-related schemes are not affected by these reductions in public expenditure.

Mrs. Bain

Will the Minister accept that the vast expenditure on the road network in Glasgow is a strange priority, particularly in view of the census indicators in the Report on Urban Deprivation, which show acute poverty in Glasgow? Does he not agree that it would be better to spend money on housing in Glasgow?

Mr. Millan

I think that the hon. Lady has tabled a Question about some of these matters, and perhaps she will wait until my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State answers it. We want a balanced development in Glasgow and elsewhere. As a Member of Parliament who represents a Glasgow constituency, I am well aware of the scale of urban deprivation in Glasgow and the urgent need to tackle it, as it has been tackled both by the local authority and by the Government.

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