§ Mr. Somerville Hastings
asked the Minister of Transport what saving in terms of money and men has resulted and will result from the curtailment of the highway programme proposed in Circular 618 of 16th January, 1948.
§ Mr. Barnes
The road staffs of highway authorities had by last August been reduced to 75,485 from the figure of 95,362 at which they stood in August, 1947. A further saving in manpower which is difficult to estimate has resulted from the curtailment and postponement of a number of improvement schemes which are being, or would have been. carried out by contract.
The proposed expenditure on maintenance of trunk and classified roads in 1948–49 is estimated at £24 million as compared with £29½ million in 1947–48. So far as improvements are concerned, the expenditure of about £2,800,000 on works previously authorised for commencement has been deferred; but the postponement of many other proposed schemes, such as the Severn Bridge—estimated to cost £9 million—and the Widnes-Runcorn Bridge—more than £3 million—will result in the deferment of a much larger volume of expenditure.