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Roads (Expenditure)

Volume 19: debated on Tuesday 2 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport what factors have led to the estimated underspend in the motorway and trunk road construction budget for 1981–82; and what part of the underspend is attributable to mis-estimated tender prices.

The main factors are a substantially smaller rise in construction costs than anticipated and the actual fall in tender price levels from those experienced in 1980, together with lower expdenditure than expected on the preparation of future schemes, on the acquisition of land, and on the settlement of contractors' claims on schemes completed earlier. Some large schemes were also unexpectedly delayed, but this was partially offset by bringing forward schemes from the reserve list and from next year's programme. Details of the estimated and actual tender prices were set out in my reply on 25 November 1981 to the hon. Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Whitlock)—[Vol. 13, c. 401] Three contracts have been let since then but will not have any significant impact on spending in 1981–82.