HC Deb 27 November 1995 vol 267 c909
1. Mr. David Martin

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the likely starting date for the construction of the Newbury bypass. [643]

The Minister for Railways and Roads (Mr. John Watts)

Tenders will be invited for the main works contract on Friday 1 December. We aim to start the main works as soon as possible in 1996. We have already carried out all the necessary demolition of buildings on the route and clearance of the rest of the site will take place before the main works begin. Construction should then be completed within two years.

Mr. Martin

I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on keeping the scheme in the roads programme during a difficult public expenditure round. He knows how important the road is for those who live and work in Newbury and all points south, including Portsmouth, as a connection with the midlands and the north. Will the Minister ensure that what he has said today is well publicised, as there has been considerable trouble making by the Liberals, who have been doubting the Government's intention to proceed with the scheme?

Mr. Watts

Trouble making by Liberals or anyone else is much to be deplored. The former Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Dr. Mawhinney), announced in July that the road would go ahead. My right hon. Friend the present Secretary of State made the same announcement in October. I do not know how many times we need to say so, but go ahead it will.