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National Roads Programme

Volume 86: debated on Monday 11 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he last met representatives of the Confederation of British Industry to discuss the national roads programme.

When, in future, my right hon. Friend meets the CBI, will he concentrate on the differences between his programme and that which the CBI proposes in "Fabric of the Nation"? Will he explain why there is such an enormous discrepancy between its proposal and his programme?

There are no great differences between our forward programme and "Fabric of the Nation II", which the CBI has proposed. In most cases where they are not the same, either we are studying a new scheme to meet the CBI's requirements, or we think that the schemes that we have adjacent to its demands are meeting the need in a different way. There are few schemes that do not fall into one or other category.

Are the Government prepared to listen to the strictures of—is it Sir Anthony Beckett?—on the Government's failure to invest in the infrastructure?

I do not quite know who Sir Anthony Beckett can be. [Interruption.] That may be the hon. Gentleman's stage name. I addressed the CBI last Friday, and would be delighted to send the hon. Gentleman a copy of my speech so that he can comprehend fully the extent to which we are meeting the nation's needs for a modern road system.