asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the question of the repairs to the Mersey banks was taken up with his predecessor and with the Minister of Health as long ago as early in 1920; whether he realises that the condition that the work must be completed by the 1st June will prevent any action being now taken; why this condition has been put into the agreement; whether he will use his influence to have it immediately removed, in view of the fact that it is impossible for any contractor to say when the work can be started on or how long it will take, as it is entirely dependent upon the river being low for some weeks on end; is he aware that the cost of the repairs will now be more than double what it would have been if action had been taken in the summer of 1920; and can he say who was responsible for this delay?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN:
Yes, Sir, and as I informed the hon. and gallant Member in reply to his earlier question, there was no effective means of dealing with the case at that time under the Land Drainage Acts. Moreover, no public funds were available to deal with the situation, until the present unemployment drainage schemes were instituted. The extension of the time limit laid down by His Majesty's Government in the case of any individual scheme would raise difficult questions of policy with regard to unemployment, but I will consider the question further in consultation with the other Departments concerned, and will communicate the result to the hon. and gallant Member as soon as possible.