§ [The question was as follows:
§ To ask His Majesty's Government whether approval has been given to the construction of a road and bridge at Neath; what is the estimated cost of the scheme, and when it is expected to com- 1087 plete the work; whether this represents a departure from the Government policy with regard to capital expenditure, and if not, what are the reasons for giving this particular scheme priority Over other equally essential works.]
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR COLONIAL AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF LISTOWEL)
My Lords, tenders have been invited for the construction of the eastern section of the Neath By-pass. The estimated cost is £750,000, and it is anticipated that the work will be completed in 1951. The scheme does not represent a departure from Government policy on capital expenditure. In conjunction with the new Jersey Marine, work on which is well advanced, this section of the proposed by-pass will provide a new and direct access from the east to the dock area of Swansea. It will shorten the distance by five miles, and will serve the cause of road safety by diverting heavy industrial traffic from the tortuous route through the built-up areas of Neath, Skewen and Morriston.
§ EARL HOWE
I thank the noble Earl for his answer, but can he say why he thinks that, in order to gain a distance of five miles, it is necessary to spend £750,000 and to put an enormous tonnage of steel into the bridge to be erected at Neath? The noble Earl has said that there is no departure from the Government's White Paper on Capital Expenditure. At the same time, surely, it comes to this—that this particular scheme has been given priority over other schemes of an equivalent nature, some of which are badly needed. Can he say why this has to have so much priority?
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
The shortening of the journey into Swansea is not the main reason for the expenditure of money on this by-pass. The main reason is that it will help our export trade conducted through the Port of Swansea. I am sure the noble Earl would agree that any road development which helps our export trade should have the highest priority.