§ 5. Mr. Murphy
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he is satisfied with the operation of the section 8 grant system; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Murphy
Does the Secretary of State agree that the total expenditure on section 8 grants in declining? As a result of that, will he agree to initiate an inquiry into the system, bearing in mind the need to liberalise the provisions and the great exuberance that we have heard this afternoon about the possibility of the Channel tunnel?
§ Mr. Channon
I see no evidence for an inquiry. Since 1979, 126 grants have been awarded, amounting to £47 million. About 35 million tonnes of freight are removed from the roads each year by the scheme. Naturally, we continue to see whether there are ways of speeding up the process or of simplifying the administration of the grants, but I see no reason for an inquiry. The system is working well.