asked the Minister of Transport, if he is aware that the Clackmannan County Council is the only local authority in Scotland which has specified foreign bitumen for its road requirements over the ensuing season and has expressly stipulated that British tar products will not be considered; that the counties of Stirling, Perth, Kinross, and Fife, which adjoin the county of Clackmannan, are all of them using large quantities of British tar for road purposes with satisfactory results; that the price of foreign bitumen is almost double that of British tar at the present time; and whether it is the policy of the Ministry of Transport to make grants from the Road Fund to local authorities which use foreign bitumen and do not invite quotations for British tar?
The selection of a material for a particular purpose depends upon other factors as well as first cost, and I understand that the Clackmannan County Council consider that the specification they have adopted is best suited to their local requirements. I am not disposed unduly to hamper the discretion of local authorities in this respect, but where British supplies of any material are available, it is my policy that British firms should be given an opportunity of tendering.
The Clackmannan County Council consider that bitumen is best suited for their local needs, especially in view of the character of much of their subsoil. As to prices, I have no information.