In 1961–62, total expenditure, by central and local Government, on roads in Great Britain was £222·9 million. Total receipts from motor vehicle licences and motor vehicle fuel tax were £544·8 million.
The loss incurred on the railways on revenue account for the calendar year 1961 was £150·7 million. I regret that a figure for the Exchequer financial year is not available.
Do not the figures show that there is no doubt whatever that, whereas roads make a considerable profit for the Exchequer, the railways make a considerable loss, and does my hon. and gallant Friend agree that his right hon. Friend's policy in this connection in reducing the number of railways is absolutely justified?
I agree that my right hon. Friend's policy is justified, and I agree also with the proposition as my hon. Friend stated it, but I do not consider that the figures I have stated by themselves give any guidance as to the right level of expenditure on either form of transport.
In view of the appalling damage to the roads through the bad weather, is it Government policy to step up road maintenance in the future both for this reason and in order to provide employment?