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Volume 21: debated on Wednesday 7 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has studied the statement contained in the Strathclyde regional council's transport policies and programme submission that reducing allocations aggravate a deteriorating condition of highways and structures; if he has any evidence that reduced road maintenance budgets have led to deteriorating roads in the regions; and if he will authorise an increased maintenance budget for Strathclyde.

I am aware of the regional council's view. My right hon. Friend took account in the Rate Support (Scotland) Order 1982 of local authority concern on this matter and of the priority given to road maintenance by authorities in previous years. It is for Strathclyde regional council to determine local priorities in the light of the settlement and of other relevant factors.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland to what extent his road construction policy objectives take account of greater distances in Scotland than in the rest of the United Kingdom.

My right hon. Friend's objective is to carry out a balanced programme of trunk road and motorway construction and improvement, taking full account of the distances involved as well as of other relevant factors, such as the need for bypasses. The programme always contains a proportion of work on the main long distance strategic routes.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent representations he has received about the condition of trunk and local roads.

My right hon. Friend has received a small number of representations from members of the public about the condition of local roads, and some local highway authorities have expressed concern in their transport policies and programmes submissions about the level of resources available for road maintenance. He has received no recent representations relating to trunk roads.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report a

Motorways and Trunk Roads
New Construction and Improvements
Cash Budget£ million43·558·261·364·075·992·7
Actual Expenditure£ million43·857·558·668·072·2*72·1
Cash Budget£ million10·912·113·115·414·524·5
Actual Expenditure£ million10·712·314·115·117·7*29·8
Under/overspendPercentage-1·8+ 1·7+7·6-1·9+22·1+21·6
Local Authority Roads and Transport
Capital Expenditure
Capital Allocation†‡£ million75·677·194·6102·6106·6131·7
Actual Expenditure†£ million69·367·693·0103·793·8*125·8
Under/overspendPercentage-8·3-12·3-1·7+ 1·1-12·0-4·5
Actual Expenditure (new construction and improvement of roads)£ million42·039·146·862·863·9Not available
Maintenance (Roads) Actual Expenditure**£ million41·161·757·163·3*90·9Not available


* Provisional outturn

†Includes public transport

‡Capital allocations are not split between roads and public transport

** Cash budget figures are not available on the same basis

1981–82 Outturn

The underspend of about £20 million in 1981–82 on new construction of motorways and trunk roads has been mainly caused by the very keen contract prices which have been obtained, compared with the forward estimate and by delays resulting from the severe weather during December and January. Some large schemes were also unexpectedly delayed by procedural difficulties, but this was partly offset by bringing forward some additional but smaller schemes. A sum of £5 million was transferred within the overall roads cash block to allow additional expenditure on essential maintenance and to cover the additional cost of snow clearing during the severe winter. The net underspend for the cash block is therefore £15 million or 13·3 per cent. As regards the local authority figures, the reasons for any difference between budgeted and actual expenditure are a matter for the individual local authorities.