§ Mr. Roy Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Transport, following the meeting on 23 February between himself and his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and leaders of Bristol city council concerning the request for financial aid for Bristol docks, what reply has now been made; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. David Howell
When I saw the city council on 23 February I told it that I was very glad to learn of the 263W positive steps which are being taken to rationalise and restructure the port and to sell surplus land. I had to tell it, however, that I have no statutory powers to relieve the council of its obligation to repay the loans raised to finance the building of Royal Portbury dock or to provide annual grants towards the port's deficits. Nor do I see any grounds in ports policy terms for asking Parliament for such powers.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment will be answering separately on the reply he gave to the deputation.