§ Mr. Squire
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the effect of construction prices on his plans for road building and maintenance this year.
§ Mr. Channon
We are achieving a high level of activity in road building and maintenance. Our planned spending on capital items is over 30 per cent. more in real terms than in 1978–79. Spending on roads this year is at an all time record level of over £1 billion.
We are also making more rapid progress with schemes than expected. I have reviewed the scheduling of our work. All work currently in hand will continue. I shall continue to give high priority to safety schemes, though there will be implications for the phasing of major reconstruction works. My aim remains to start within the year all planned new construction schemes which are ready.