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Facilities, North London Area

Volume 463: debated on Monday 21 March 1949

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41 and 42.

the Minister of Transport (1) why, in settling the programme of reorganisation and development of the London Transport Executive in accordance with Section 4 (2) of the Transport Act, 1947, he has agreed to priority being given to the construction of the extension of the Bakerloo Tube and authorised it to be commenced in 1950, when improvements can be brought to a larger section of the population, and at cheaper cost, in more needy areas, such as North London; and

(2) whether, in settling the programme for the development of London's transport facilities in accordance with Section 4 (2) of the Transport Act, 1947, he will include as a first priority the electrification of the railways serving the North London area, including Tottenham, Wood Green, Edmonton and Enfield.

As hon. Members are aware, the British Transport Commission have recently submitted to me a report, which will shortly be published, giving their views on the proposals made by the Railway (London Plan) Committee. No programme for the development of transport in London has been submitted for my approval under Section 4 (2) of the Transport Act, which in any case does not require my formal consent to specific projects. I cannot anticipate the eventual decision as to the priority of surface electrification in the London area, by my hon. Friend may be assured that the needs of North London will be fully taken into account. The extension of the Bakerloo Line to Camberwell will enable the service on this line as a whole to be improved and is on this account urgently needed. Powers for this extension were obtained in 1931 and some of the preparatory work has been done. The scheme has been approved for inclusion in the Investment Programme for commencement in 1950, provided that the agreed level of investment permits.

While I appreciate the need for improving the facilities in South-East London, does not my right hon. Friend agree that, in view of the imminent publication of the working plan, it might have been better to await its publication and discussion before authorising this expenditure on the extension of a tube, which is the most costly of all capital development at the present time?

I do not think that it is desirable to hold up any specific undertaking because of a question of the consideration of a larger programme, which the London railway plan involves.