HC Deb 21 February 1921 vol 138 cc557-60W

asked the Minister of Transport whether he can give the average weekly number of ex-service men employed on the arterial road construction of the proposed new Cambridge Road, North Circular Road, and the Western Avenue during the past six weeks?


I have been asked to reply. According to returns supplied by the local authorities and the Employment Exchanges, the average numbers of men employed daily on the New Cambridge Road and the North Circular Road during the past six weeks were 125 and 193 respectively. The work on the Western Avenue has been in hand only about a fortnight. The numbers employed on these three roads at the end of last week were 141, 324, and 111, respectively. The local Employment Committees, by whom men are selected for this work, are directed to give preference to ex-service men. It may, therefore, be assumed that the great majority of those so selected are ex-service men, but the precise numbers cannot be given without detailed inquiry.


asked the Minister of Transport whether he can facilitate the starting of the proposed new road from Erith to Dartford, Kent; if he is aware that, although materials, machinery, and men are ready to start, this scheme is held up by the Kent County Council, who refuse to recognise the scale of wages laid down by the joint industrial council of building trades; and what he proposes to do in the matter?


I have been asked to reply. It is correct that materials and plant for the construction of this road as a means of finding work for men unemployed are ready. Difficulties have, however arisen as to the rate to be paid on the job, and on this point we are in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport.


asked the Minister of Labour the number of unemployed that have been absorbed by the arterial road schemes; the number of schemes that have been started; and the estimated cost?


According to the returns furnished by the local authorities to the Employment Exchanges the total number of men for whom employment was being provided on the 17th February on arterial road schemes throughout the country was 14,343. The total number of schemes upon which work is in progress is 114, and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport informs me that the estimated cost of these schemes is about £3,300,000. In addition, I understand that schemes estimated to cost £2,300,000 have been provisionally approved, upon which it is anticipated that an early commencement will be made. These schemes, of course, are in addition to those for the repair and maintenance of roads upon which a substantial number of men are also being employed. I am also informed that as regards the metropolitan police area other schemes which were approved by the Government for execution are "all under discussion with the local authorities concerned." As regards schemes outside the area, negotiations are in progress with the local authorities which will probably lead to the absorption of the whole of the remainder of the fund available.


asked the Minister of Labour the number of local authorities that have commenced arterial road schemes and the number of men employed; whether the whole of the local authorities have been circularised as to the urgent need of putting such schemes into operation; and what steps he is taking if his advice is disregarded?


Under arrangements concluded between the Ministry of Transport and local authorities, work has already commenced on arterial road schemes put in hand by 73 local authorities. According to the returns supplied to the Employment Exchanges by these local authorities, the total number of men employed on the 17th February was 14,343. As regards the latter part of the question, the practice is for the Ministry of Transport to get into immediate communication with the local authority as soon as the authority's area has been reported by the Ministry of Labour as one in which unemployment is so serious as to entitle the area to special consideration. In general, I am glad to say that local authorities have been very ready to cooperate in this matter.

Lieut. - Colonel CAMPION

asked the Minister of Transport (1) whether he will say how much money has already been expended on the reconstruction of the road between Lewes and Newhaven; what the total cost is expected to be;

(2) whether he is aware that the work on the Lewes to Newhaven road is being carried out in such a manner as to cause inconvenience to the public; and whether he can take steps to secure the early completion of the reconstruction of this road?


The amount expended up to date on the road referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend is £51,066 and the estimate of the total cost at present prices is about £100,000. The execution of the work is in all cases in the hands of the local authorities. I am, however, informed that any inconvenience that may have been caused to the public has been due to the haulage of materials in unfavourable weather, with a view to the rapid prosecution of the work and the continued employment of labour.


asked the Minister of Transport the total amount of grants allocated by his Department to highway authorities for road improvements since the operation of the new petrol duties?


I assume that my hon. and gallant Friend, in speaking of the "new petrol duties," really intends to refer to the new licensing and registration duties under the Finance Act, 1920, which came into force on January 1st. On this assumption, the answer to his question is, that grants from the Road Fund, to a total of about £950,000, have been authorised since 1st January, and loans have been placed at the disposal of highway authorities to a total of about £500,000.

Back to