Orders of the Day — Roads

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd August 1965.

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Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme 12:00 am, 3rd August 1965

I will endeavour to be brief because it is only fair to remember that 14 other back benchers on both sides—there may be others—wish to raise subjects tonight which are no doubt of great concern to them and their constituents. We have had a fair run on this subject, which was raised by the Opposition, and I hope that I may be forgiven if I am fairly brief.

It is quite understandable that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galbraith) should speak rather loud and long. He of course, bears his share of responsibility for formulating a road programme on a production rate never achieved under the Conservative Government. His Government bequeathed to us the problem of achieving the 4 per cent. economic growth rate which was the basis for the calculations upon which their road programme was widely advertised.

The hon. Gentleman boasted that in an economic crisis under the Tories expenditure on roads was doubled. It was just that against which his right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) resigned. The hon. Gentleman and his right hon. Friend ought to have a little get-together after the debate to decide what happened and what ought to have happened during the 1950s. As my right hon. Friend reminded the House, in the book approved by the right hon. Gentleman for issue this year he made a strong point about not increasing public expenditure beyond the means at the nation's disposal and not formulating plans for public expenditure far ahead of the date when one could possibly calculate what national income would be.