HL Deb 31 July 1936 vol 102 cc464-5WA

had the following Question on the Paper:—To ask His Majesty's Government whether the ruling hereunder as to a bridge is applicable to the construction of breakwaters in Malta (from columns 178–9 of the OFFICIAL REPORT of 22nd July), viz.:— The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies…. I say this incidentally—that as the Minister made a grant of a few thousand pounds towards the cost of a preliminary survey, he must, therefore, be considered as committed to making a substantial grant towards the whole scheme. I must say that the Government cannot accept that view which really cannot in any way be justified. It is quite obvious that an essential preliminary to a final decision on a scheme of this kind must be the probable cost involved, and this can only be estimated after the site of the bridge has been considered and settled upon.

And to ask:—

Whether estimates already compiled for the enclosing of the south-east bay of Malta will be revised with due allowance for the use of material that may be excavated in the construction of underground hangars for seaplanes; or whether acquiescence may be expected for an appeal to the public in Malta to subscribe for such revision.


With regard to the first part of the Question, the noble Lord's reference to a ruling is difficult to understand. In his quotation from my speech the noble Lord has omitted the opening words, which were, "It has been suggested in some quarters." If he is referring to the final sentence, I do not think that the cases of the Forth Bridge and the Malta breakwaters are parallel.

With reference to the second part of the Question, I am advised that the value of the material which might be excavated if underground hangars were made would not reduce appreciably the heavy cost of the scheme for enclosing the south-east bay. It remains the view of the Government that the revision of the estimate of cost of that scheme would serve no useful purpose for the reasons explained by the Secretary of State for Air in the House of Lords on the 4th December last.