asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now make a statement on the question of tolls on the Forth Road Bridge, following the experimental period of one year.
Dr. Dickson Mabon
I have nothing to add to the reply I gave to the right hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Sir W. Anstruther-Gray) on 2nd November.
Does the hon. Gentleman consider that the present rate of toll is likely to prove a handicap to plans for industrial expansion?
The present toll? No. There is no such evidence. As for future arrangements, I indicated in my reply that there would be discussions. The Joint Board met on 27th October and considered the inescapable financial effects of the first year. In the 12 months starting 1st October, 1964, 4·6 million vehicles crossed the bridge—excluding the initial surge of traffic in the earlier month. In the nine months to 28th May, 1965, tine Joint Board was due to make payments to the Secretary of State's Department of £569,059. The payment it was able to make amounted to £248,359. Therefore, £320,700 has to be carried forward and added to the capital debt of £14.5 million. With those facts in mind, it is difficult to go further than I went in answer to the right hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Sir W. Anstruther-Gray).