Can the Minister indicate whether there is any possibility at all of speeding up the preliminary work, because the unemployment position is becoming increasingly serious? Is he aware that in the last six months, for instance, four factories in Fife alone have closed down and that unemployment figures in the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area are the highest for ten years? Will he do something, if not with the bridge, then by other means, to attract industry to the area?
I am not certain that there is much scope for accelerating the process that has already been set on foot, but I should say that the hon. Gentleman should not exaggerate the possibilities of employment arising out of the construction of the Forth Bridge. I am informed that not more than 40 local unskilled men are likely to find work in the construction of the bridge during the first two years of its construction.