HL Deb 11 April 1957 vol 202 cc1248-9

2.38 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will state what steps are being taken to ensure that the current road programme does in fact (to quote the Earl of Selkirk speaking on behalf of Her Majesty's Government in this House on the 19th December, 1956) proceed to expand within the limits of our economic strength…. It is not so much a question of money as a question of manpower and materials ".]


My Lords, the Government have always in mind the need for including further road improvements in the programme as the country's resources permit. During the present financial year it is hoped to authorise work costing the Exchequer some £68 million, compared with some £39 million for the financial year just ended.


My Lords, as Her Majesty's Government are taking over £400 million a year in taxation from the motoring world, could the noble Lord give the motoring community some idea as to when they will get roads that are in keeping with that enormous burden of taxation?


My Lords, I think the two figures which I have given will indicate to my noble friend that the Government are taking this matter nearly as seriously as he would wish, and certainly as seriously as the present financial position permits.


My Lords, may I ask a supplementary question to my original Question? Could Her Majesty's Government set out for the benefit of contractors who are holding plant here in this country to do jobs such as the London to Birmingham road some idea when the plant may be used, as otherwise they could employ it profitably, for the benefit of this country, in overseas markets?


My Lords, I must confess that I was under the impression that that information was already available. If it is not, I will certainly look into the matter and see whether it can be remedied.