HC Deb 03 February 1943 vol 386 cc875-6
20. Sir Robert Rankin

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he is aware that two leading British shipping companies have made a beginning with civil aviation; and whether it is the intention of the Ministry, with a view to assisting post-war aviation in the face of foreign competition, to grant powers and, when necessary, assistance, to shipping companies to operate air services?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport (Mr. Noel-Baker)

Like my hon. Friend, I have, of course, noted the declaration made recently by the chairmen of British shipping companies about civil aviation and its relation to the shipping industry. But, as my hon. Friend will appreciate, the second part of his Question involves important issues of general policy. These issues are now under consideration by His Majesty's Government, and I cannot, therefore, usefully make any statement about the action which it may be right or possible to take.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Are the Government alive to the enormous possibilities of civil aviation after the war?

Mr. Noel-Baker

The Government are alive to all the possibilities.

Mr. A. Edwards

Will my hon. Friend keep in mind that this should not be left in the hands of private enterprise? It is a bad policy to put millions of pounds into the pockets of people who have done their job badly and still leave them in charge.

Mr. Noel-Baker

All relevant considerations will be taken into account.