§ Mr. Fry
Surely the Minister is aware of the need for a very early statement on the actual programme, particularly in relation to the important route from the Midlands to the East Coast. We are still awaiting confirmation of the date of the Ml-A1 link. If, as I believe, it is possible that it will be delayed for a number of years, will the hon. Gentleman assure the House that he will consider alternative routes and that Government money will be spent in order to ensure that this essential road, which is needed for our economic survival and recovery, is completed at the earliest possible opportunity?
§ Mr. Horam
The priority of routes to ports is guaranteed—I can assure the hon. Gentleman of that. There is no higher priority, other than the M25, in the present proposals. As regards a linkup, we published a preferred corridor at the end of 1975, and work is going on on a particular route within that corridor.
§ Mr. Eldon Griffiths
Since the Secretary of State is among the Ministers who accord high priority to Europe and ou[...] trade with it, will the Under-Secretary of State confirm that the highest priority should go to those routes which connect our industrial areas with the East Coast ports? Why did he reduce the funds made available for those routes by the Conservative Government? In particular, will he restore the timetable for the completion of the dualling of the A45 to the dates intended by the Conservative Government?
§ Mr. Horam
The road programme has suffered some public expenditure restraint over the past few years. That was for reasons of public expenditure policy, not for reasons of transport policy. There is no discrimination between the East and the South Coasts on this matter. Roads to the ports are important, and we shall give them the highest priority we can.
§ Mr. Loyden
In considering roads to ports, will my hon. Friend take an interest in the construction of the Garston bypass, which runs through part of my constituency and the construction of which will take away heavy traffic from the densely populated areas and will act as a good feeder road to the docks in Liverpool?