HL Deb 05 December 1978 vol 397 c106WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many road construction units now exist; what is their purpose; how much they have cost in each of the last five years; to whom they are accountable; how many civil servants they employ; and whether their workload and personnel are increasing.

Baroness STEDMAN

There are six road construction units. They are an integral part of the Department of Transport and thus accountable to my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport. They are responsible for the design, preparation and supervision of construction of the major trunk roads and motorway schemes in England, together with the associated statutory, financial and contractual controls.

The total administrative cost of the units over the last five financial years, at outturn prices, has been as follows:—

1973–74 1974–75 1975–76 1976–77 1977–78
£11.8m £12.7m £16.2m £21.2m £19.8m

NOTE: Approximately £3 million of the expenditure in 1976–77 arose from late requisitions for staff costs incurred in earlier years.

The number of civil servants in post on 1st October 1978 was 212, but the units also employ local authority officers, seconded to them by 16 participating county councils. The number of these in post on 1st October was 2,370 giving a total staff in post of 2,582 against a complement of 2,800. The number of staff fluctuates from time to time according to the number of contracts being supervised. The value of schemes under construction is likely to increase over the next year or so but it should be possible to contain the additional staff effort within the existing complement.