asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will arrange for an impartial engineering survey of Scottish roads with a view to increasing their safety characteristics and also helping the tourist industry.
Does the Secretary of State mean by that rather depressing answer that he thinks that a high and uniform state of roadways of first-class quality is not necessary in Scotland? Is that what he means? If he does, will he think it over again? Will he not try to take the initiative in organising a conference of technical and other interests concerned in order to give us—what we have not got at present—a national picture of the needs of Scotland concerning her roads?
I can assure the hon. Member that my desire is to see the best possible quality of roads, from every point of view, throughout the whole of Scotland. I feel I should point out to him that we are getting on with the job. At the end of March work in progress and about to begin totalled about £l6 million, and the position is improving the whole time.
Would the right hon. Gentleman think again about this, because we set up several bodies to inquire into productivity? May I assure him that a large percentage of the benefits of productivity are being completely nullified by the terrible state of British roads?
That is rather a double question. Of course one is interested in improving our roads to the best possible standard as quickly as possible, but I believe that in the construction of roads related to the question of productivity we know as much in this country about new roads as any country does.