Transport Expenditure

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th March 1983.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian 12:00 am, 16th March 1983

asked the Secretary of State for Transport to what extent he is able to break down the figure of £880 million estimated total expenditure on local transport in 1985–86 into expenditure on new construction and improvement of roads, car parks and public transport investment.

Photo of Mr David Howell Mr David Howell , Guildford

The figure of £880 million estimated total expenditure on local transport in 1985–86 is a provisional planning total. Decisions have not yet been made about its breakdown into roads, car parks and public transport.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

The Secretary of State listens to urgent requests for public investment from my hon. Friends and, indeed, in this Question Time, from his hon. Friends. Does it occur to him, when he attends Cabinet Committees, that this £880 million is precisely the figure that the Daily Express gives for Stanley airport? If road and rail investment is equal to an airport 8,000 miles away, what are his priorities in Cabinet?

Photo of Mr David Howell Mr David Howell , Guildford

When I saw the hon. Gentleman's question it occurred to me what it might be about, just as it occurred to the excellent officials who prepared my brief for answering his question. I know that the interest of the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) lies not with the Falkland Islands but with the capital spending of local authorities. He knows as well as I do that the main problem has been that local authorities have underspent on their capital projects and allowed resources to be diverted too much into current spending, which has been inflated. Underspending on capital is one of the Government's principal worries and we want it to end. We want approved capital projects to be carried forward with finance that is available.

Photo of Mr Ian Wrigglesworth Mr Ian Wrigglesworth , Teesside Thornaby

Does the Minister agree that on some road schemes, such as the A10 and A66 on Teesside, too much money must be spent on repairs shortly after the roads are opened? Will he consider the matter to see whether money can be saved on such repairs?

Photo of Mr David Howell Mr David Howell , Guildford

We are already doing that.