To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the progress of work in respect of the bridge to Skye.
The second caisson for the south pier of the main bridge is due to be placed on the sea bed this week. As with the first caisson, this marks a very important milestone in the construction of the bridge. The contractor is confident that the bridge will be completed on programme by mid-1995.
I welcome the fact that the Prime Minister and the former Chancellor recognise the importance of the Skye bridge and are here for this question. As the Minister is aware of the sense of blatant injustice felt in Skye and lochalsh about the principle of a privately toll-funded bridge and high tolls being levied on locals for anything up to a generation, the related problems of Caledonian MacBrayne and the roll on/roll off service between Mallaig and Ardvasar, will he use the opportunity of the summer recess to accept the invitation that I have twice extended to him to meet the local people and hear what is being said about the massive economic and social implications that the structure, as presently constituted, will have?
I will meet the hon. Gentleman any time, but he must remember that the bridge will be of enormous benefit not only to his constituents but to the people of the Western Isles. As for the toll, he must remember that when traffic increases, this could reduce the toll or shorten the toll period. That is a factor which he and his constituents would be wise to bear in mind.