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Why No Road Loan ?

12th March 1954, Page 34
12th March 1954
Page 34
Page 34, 12th March 1954 — Why No Road Loan ?
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

• THE miserly and grudgingly promised few 1 millions towards the " improvement " of the road system, some of which money is to be devoted to bridges and tunnels, has shocked all those interested in developing road transport. Many are puzzled by the refusal of the Government even to consider the securing of a loan of adequate proportions, which would enable far more • extensive and useful work to be undertaken and most certainly do a great deal towards overcoming • the present dangers and those which will inevitably follow the growth of highway usage.

Thousands of large and small businesses depend to a considerable extent upon loans in order to conduct their operations. Local goVernments make -great use of this means for obtaining the sums necessary to improve their facilities. Con. sequently, few people can imagine why the Government should consider such a means as inflationary. This is certainly not the opinion of Sir Gurney Braithwaite, formerly Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport; he is all in favour Of such a scheme. Possibly a large loan amounting to, say, £500m., which is the amount suggested by some authorities, • might be considered to be a form, of inflation if there were no certainty of the way the interest upon it and its eventual repayment could be met. But the taxation of motor vehicles and their fuel brings in such immense sums that only a small portion of those would be required. It must be • remembered also that every year sees an increase so large that even if the taxation were to be reduced slightly, there might still be a rise in the total obtained annually.

What is so exasperating is that this loan scheme could be put into action with little more than a stroke of the pen and this without doing harm to anyone or to the Exchequer. It would at the same time permit the removal from the • pigeonholes of some of the excellent but delayed schemes of road building and reconstruction. Trade and industry, the public and our exporters, would all benefit, and there would undoubtedly be fewer accidents in proportion to • the number of vehicles in use.