HC Deb 11 May 1926 vol 195 cc808-10W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state for each financial year since the war the amount. apart from taxation allotted to the roads, the State has spent upon the upkeep of roads, making a total of £18,000,000 in all; how much of this £18,000,000 was spent upon the road works initiated and designed mainly for giving work to the unemployed; and will he state the amount of the petrol and motor taxes diverted to general revenue from the Road Improvement Fund during the war years.


I will circulate the answer which includes a table of figures. It will be seen that the total is £24,000,000 instead of £18,000,000.

Following is the answer—

The following table shows the estimated total assistance given from the Exchequer towards road expenditure since 1st April, 1919, apart from the proceeds of taxation specifically allotted to road purposes. The bulk of the payments through the Local Taxation Accounts is represented by the free balances on the Exchequer Contribution Accounts of county authorities which were assigned in 1888 in substitution for the direct Exchequer grants previously made for roads:

Estimated Payments through the Local Taxation Accounts. Estimated Direct Exchequer Grants.
£ £
1919–20 1,220,000 8,250,000
1920–21 1,350,000 125,000
1921–22 1,350,000 900,000
1922–23 1,750,000 700,000
1923–24 1,850,000 400,000
1924-25 2,500,000 525,000
1925–26 2,500,000 640,000
12,520,000 11,540,000

The total is therefore roughly £24,000,000. The grant of £8,250,000 was given with the dual object of reconditioning the roads of the country after the War and of finding employment for ex-Service men on demobilization. The remainder of the direct Exchequer grants, estimated at £3,290,000, was given primarily to provide work for the unemployed, but it resulted nevertheless in necessary road improvements being carried out and thus reduced the demands upon the Road Fund.

The revenue diverted from the Road Fund to the Exchequer during the years 1915–16 to 1919–20 amounted approximately to £7,333,000. This excludes the yield of the additional duty placed upon petrol during the War.