The five miles of the A74 which lie in England have been completely realigned since 1969 and have since shown a low and diminishing accident record. If my hon. Friend is concerned about a particular problem south of the border, I shall be glad to consider it.
Is my hon. Friend aware that on the Scottish part of the border that stretch of highway has earned the notorious title of Scotland's killer road? Does he agree that that is due to the mounting toll of accidents, fatal and otherwise, that have occurred over the past few years in that part of the country? May I therefore ask my hon. Friend whether he is satisfied that everything possible is being done to warn northbound motorists when they leave the motorway and enter the trunk road, as ignorance of that fact is believed to be the cause of many of the tragic accidents which occur?
My hon. Friend will realise that I use this road quite frequently myself. I can assure him that it is properly signposted on entering Scotland. In fact, I make a point of looking for the signposting which tells me that I am back in Scotland. I think my hon. Friend will be aware that far too many roads in various parts of the country are called killer roads because of the way that the Press likes to sensationalise. I could name about six in England and certainly three in Scotland.
Will the Minister accept from one who lives very near to the merger between the M6 and the A74 that there is a problem in distinguishing the signs, which change from blue to green, and that many commercial vehicles continue to use the road at motorway speeds? If the Minister can do anything further—and perhaps in consultation with the police in Cumbria—I shall be very grateful.
I noticed that the hon. Gentleman took part in the questions which were put to my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Scottish Office a fortnight ago. Of course, as the hon. Gentleman will know, matters concerning Scottish roads are for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. However, I shall draw my right hon. Friend's attention to the point that has been made. I think the hon. Gentleman will also agree that all the way up the A74 there are conspicuous notices warning the drivers of heavy vehicles to keep to regulation speeds.
Is my hon. Friend aware that in the main the A74 runs through my constituency of Hamilton and the constituency of the Minister of Overseas Development, my right hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart)? Will he take into account all the pleas that we have both made over the years to previous administrations, and now to this one, that the A74 should be considered as a priority job and that it should be brought up to motorway standards?
The decisions to be made on the standard of the road and what should be done with the road are matters for my right hon. Friend, but I shall draw his attention to the points that have been raised by the hon. Gentleman and other hon. Members.