HL Deb 25 May 1960 vol 223 cc1218-9

2.46 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave 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 are aware that £15 million of heavy road-making plant is stated to be lying idle, in fact 1,652 machines; and whether some steps cannot be taken usefully to employ all these resources on new roads, or improving existing roads.]


My Lords, my right honourable friend the Minister of Transport is aware of the statement issued by the Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors that 1,652 machines suitable for road work are idle. The employment of this equipment on road-building would involve increased expenditure on roads, and on this subject there is nothing I can add to the reply given on 26th April by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister to a question asked in another place.


My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for his reply, may I ask him whether it is not a fact that the London to South Wales motorway is one of the proposals of the Ministry of Transport; that the London to Yorkshire motorway is one of the proposals, and, further, that the Durham motorway is another? These total a distance of 177 miles. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer is unable to find more money at the moment, can consideration be given to making these roads toll roads, to enable construction to start?


My Lords, I can only say on that matter that the question of tolls is a difficult one which is being examined by the Department at the present time.