§ 24. Mr. Moate
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the capital outturn cost of the Channel Tunnel, including allowance for inflation, interest during construction and financing charges, assuming inflation at the rate that occurred in 1973 and interest rates at their present level, and allowing for recent changes in exchange rates.
§ Mr. Moate
Will my right hon. Friend explain why he was prepared to put forward a figure of £846 million last year on exactly the same hypothesis but on inflation rates of 5 per cent. a year and interest charges of 9 per cent? Would not the true costs show that the project is already escalating out of control and that at the very least there should be a Select Committee scrutiny of it or that at best it should be cancelled right away?
§ Mr. Peyton
My hon. Friend's hostility to the project is well known. I do not think that I shall be able to satisfy him.
§ Mr. Crosland
The main hypothesis in the Question is that inflation will continue. The Minister says that he does not accept that hypothesis. Does that mean that he 1220 is about to fight an election on cutting prices at a stroke?
§ Mr. Marten
My right hon. Friend must not treat his own back benchers in this way. The sum he was asked to do is quite do-able. Will he get his officials to do it even if he cannot?
Mr. R. C. Mitchell
Would the Minister care to estimate the average wage which will be paid to those who dig the tunnel and say where he thinks the labour will come from?