HC Deb 06 March 1995 vol 256 cc5-6
5. Mr. John Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received on the level of transport supplementary grant approved for North Yorkshire for 1995–96.

Mr. Watts

Three of my hon. Friends, including my hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale, have made representations about the level of TSG approved for North Yorkshire county council for 1995–96.

Mr. Greenway

Is my hon. Friend aware of the concern at county hall and among the district councils about the need to strengthen and repair many of North Yorkshire's bridges? He will know that it is England's biggest and most rural county. It is all very well to concentrate on national priority routes for bridge strengthening, but if many of these bridges have to have weight restrictions or closure, there will be detours of many miles. In the moors and dales, there are some access-only roads where there are important bridges. Will my hon. Friend bear all that in mind and will he ensure that North Yorkshire gets a much better settlement in future years?

Mr. Watts

As always, my hon. Friend is assiduous in pressing the claims of his constituents and of his county. The bad news, to which he draws attention, is that in the allocation for 1995–96, the provision for bridge strengthening and assessment in North Yorkshire has been reduced by 15.5 per cent. compared with 14.5 per cent. nationally. The good news, which my hon. Friend and his county have overlooked, is that in the current year, the allocation for bridge strengthening has more than doubled—an increase of 102 per cent. We recognise that canny Yorkshiremen seek to get the best they can. However, an increase of 102 per cent. followed by a reduction of 15.5 per cent. should lead my hon. Friend to conclude that North Yorkshire has not been treated terribly unfairly.