HC Deb 14 June 1979 vol 968 c607
12. Mr. Jessel

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what sum his Department is contributing towards the cost of the Thames barrier; and what action he is taking to hasten its completion.

Mr. Wiggin

The Government pay 75 per cent. grant towards expenditure incurred by the Greater London Council on the construction of the barrier. On current estimates, the total grant is expected to amount to about £270 million.

Mr. Jessel

Is my hon. Friend aware that until the Thames barrier is completed there will be great anxiety in the London area about the growing risk of a major flood disaster in which large numbers of people could be drowned and houses damaged, with underground and power stations being put out of action for months? What can be done to speed up completion? How long will it take?

Mr. Wiggin

My hon. Friend will recall that the Greater London Council, with the knowledge of the Labour Government, reorganised the contract for the construction of the barrier. There will be no change in those arrangements at the present time.