HC Deb 22 March 1977 vol 928 c519W
Mr. Bryan Davies

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he has taken to secure reductions in the capital expenditure of the regional water authorities as part of the general reductions in public expenditure announced in December last.

Mr. Denis Howell

The Government decided last December to reduce the capital investment programmes of regional water authorities for 1977–78 by £63–8 million, and those for 1978–79 by £110–5 million. As a means to achieving those reductions, I asked the authorities to suspend temporarily the letting of contracts for new construction. I am grateful to them for their co-operation. Their response during the first three months has been so effective that I am satisfied that the required reduction in expenditure can be achieved without continuing the total ban, and I am informing the regional water authorities that they may now resume the letting of contracts while keeping within their reduced expenditure programmes.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales is similarly informing the Welsh National Water Development Authority.