§ 5. Mr. Nicholas Bennett
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what financial assistance has been provided since 1979 to Dyfed county council in respect of the capital costs of the Cleddau bridge, Pembrokeshire.
§ The Minister of State, Welsh Office (Mr. Wyn Roberts)
The Government made a £4 milion interest-free loan to Dyfed county council in 1979. No assistance has been provided since then.
§ Mr. Bennett
Although I welcome the £4 milllion loan provided by the Government, is my hon. Friend aware of the considerable annoyance felt in Pembrokeshire because my constituents must pay 50p every time they cross the bridge when the rest of the road system is free? Why have my constituents been singled out for such an imposition when the rest of the road system is provided from taxation?
§ Mr. Roberts
I assure my hon. Friend that his constituents have not been singled out, but Cleddau bridge is owned and operated by Dyfed county council. The policy on tolling operated by the present Government is the same as that operated by successive Governments—that users who enjoy the exceptional savings in time and money made possible by estuarial crossings should contribute directly to the costs involved through the payment of tolls.
§ Mr. Gareth Wardell
Would the Minister care to tell the House how long the missing link in the county of Pembrokeshire on the M4 has been delayed because of the expenditure on roads by the former Secretary of State for Wales?
§ Mr. Roberts
I am happy to assure you, Mr. Speaker, that the section of road to which the hon. Gentleman referred is far from Cleddau bridge. The hon. Gentleman should know, however, that we have eased congestion along the Baglan to Lonlas section by improving the Baglan roundabout. It is clear that the hon. Gentleman has not travelled that way recently. We have plans to improve all three sections between Baglan and Lonlas.