§ Amendments made: In page 52, line 28, after "given," insert "or proposed to be given"
§ In page 53, line 3o, after "Act," insert "or the giving of any direction in pursuance of the said Part II."
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."—[The Attorney-General.]
§ 7.36 p.m.
§ Air-Commodore Harvey (Macclesfield)
The first point to which I wish to refer is the London airport. I think that most of us are agreed that the London airport has started off on the right lines. When the work is completed, we should have one of the best airports in the world. I am concerned about the communications between Heathrow and Central London. There has been a suggestion that the airport should be linked up by extension of an existing road. I do not think that is enough. The obvious means of communication between Heathrow and Central London is by rail.
§ Mr. Speaker
On Third Reading, the hon. and gallant Member may refer only to those things which are in the Bill, and not to things outside it.
§ Air-Commodore Harvey
We discussed this matter upstairs at some length, but I readily abide by your decision, Mr. Speaker, and I will pass on to my next point. I feel that with regard to the aerodrome situation generally, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is fairly short of aerodromes near to the Metropolis. I suggest that aerodromes should be given up by the Royal Air Force. With the great speed of aircraft today, it is not necessary to have squadrons located very near London, and aerodromes should be given up for the use of civil aviation.
I would refer to Clause 19—and I am sure that on this I am quite in Order—dealing with the question of the remuneration of staff. I feel that, at the moment, B.O.A.C. has probably one of the worst-paid staffs of any air line in the world. A senior captain gets as a maxi- 668 mum only £1,100 a year; a first-class navigating officer £500 to £600, and a first-class flight steward £267 maximum, which is less than a waiter earns in the House of Commons. Surely, men carrying out some thousand hours' flying a year should be better paid than men with a job on the ground, and able to go home every night. I suggest that there is room for great improvement by the Government in their remuneration of their flying staff. I am concerned that numbers of our pilots, engineers and managerial staff are going to foreign airlines. There is something wrong when we are losing the very best material which we have today. The Swedish airlines are looking for 40 pilots. The Belgians and Norwegians are also looking for pilots and engineers from this country; and I believe it is a question of pay. If the corporations pay their staffs well and give them good terms of service, we shall retain them in this country. I view with great alarm that we should be losing the cream of the Royal Air Force, now being demobilised, by these men joining up with our foreign allies.
I pass to the question of aircraft. I feel that, once and for all, we should be given a clear picture regarding the rate of production of the aircraft being made in this country. In the last 12 months, we have been given various delivery dates, and every time an hon. Member has asked a question, or there has been a Debate on this subject, we find the delivery dates are two or three months later. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary what is the production rate and delivery dates of the Tudor II
§ Mr. Speaker
I am afraid that is out of Order because this Bill does not deal with aircraft production.
§ Mr. Bowles (Nuneaton)
I only want to say a few words. When the Debate on the White Paper was taking place in this House——
§ Air-Commodore Harvey
On a point of Order. The Bill refers to the sum of, I think, £21 million being allowed for the purchase of aircraft, and I submit with great respect that I am entitled to ask the delivery date of these aircraft and when the corporations will operate them.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Mr. Ivor Thomas)
If I may help, the Bill does not provide£21 million for aircraft. It does make certain provision for capital stock and some of that will be used for aircraft.
§ Air-Commodore Harvey
That was the point I was making. Unless we know clearly the production date of these aircraft the corporations will not function efficiently. If I may proceed with this point we will get useful information from the Minister's reply. On 6th October, 1044, the Miles Aircraft Company of Reading were invited by the Ministry of Aircraft Production to make two prototypes. They were given verbal instructions to build these aircraft. Following this provisional order, a struggle took place between the Ministry of Aircraft Production, B.A.O.C., the Air Registration Board, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Royal Aircraft Establishment, none of whom had any coordinating effort, and all of whom issued conflicting instructions. For instance, it was laid down that the radio in the Marathon type should be the weight of three or four passengers. I leave it to the imagination of hon. Members to say what its effect would have been. The Ministry of Supply insisted on pressurisation of these aircraft, although the engines allowed them to fly at a height of only 6,000 or 7, 000 feet.
§ Mr. Speaker
I cannot help pointing out that this is the Third Reading Debate, and to go into aircraft production and the type of aircraft to be used, is quite outside Third Reading. This Bill, after all, merely sets up civil aviation. Details of the kind gone into by the hon. and gallant Member for Macclesfield (Air-Commodore Harvey) I must really rule out of Order.
§ Mr. Speaker
But it does not come in under the Bill. The Bill only sets up a system of civil aviation.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd (Mid-Bedford)
Further to that point of Order. Clause 10 comes under the Third Reading, and it provides for an amount of stock to be issued as loans. On the Committee stage we were told that this figure would be split up and so much devoted to the purchase of aircraft, primarily British aircraft. 670 Is not my hon. and gallant Friend in Order in raising that matter in order to see what progress is made, because I think that this £21 million comes indirectly at any rate under Clause 10?
§ Mr. Speaker
No, hut I should say he would be in Order in arguing that it is not large enough to purchase aircraft. To discuss the details of aeroplanes and their equipment seems to me to be out of Order on the Third Reading.
§ Sir Wavell Wakefield (St. Marylebone)
In the Bill very large sums of money are being granted by way of subsidies for the operation of these transport services. Is it not in Order to discuss why all these big grants should be made? The provision of inefficient aircraft may well mean the granting by the Treasury of large subsidies, which would not have to be granted under this Bill were it not for inefficient operations or inefficient supply of aircraft or components of aircraft.
§ Mr. Speaker
I cannot accept that Ruling. It seems to me that the amount which is allocated for the provision of aircraft may be criticised as being too big or too small, but to go into the details and say this aircraft is not the correct one and is not safe for flying and that another one should be pressurised or should not be pressurised is quite outside the Third Reading of the Bill.
§ Air-Commodore Harvey
One final point of Order. I am not concerned with the amount of money spent except that it is a great sum of the taxpayers' money. I was trying to show that unless these aircraft were delivered on time the corporations will be unable to operate efficiently. I do submit, in view of that, that I was justified in pointing out those incidents where they have failed.
§ Mr. Speaker
Even so, I do not see how that comes under the Bill. The hon. Member can criticise the amount of money but not the rate of delivery or details of that kind. That seems to me quite outside the scope of the Third Reading.
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Bowles (Nuneaton)
I only want to speak for one minute. When the Lord 671 President of the Council made his winding up speech during the Debate on the White Paper on Civil Aviation, which preceded the introduction of this Bill, he said one thing that rather worried some of us on this side of the House. He said a new Bill was going to be introduced—maybe he meant this one now passing the House of Commons—to try to build up in this country the most efficient nationalised air service in the world. I asked him previously in the Debate whether he would not at the same time press on with the policy which we on this side of the House stand for, namely, full blooded internationalisation of civil aviation. He used the argument which rather depressed many of us on this side of the House. He said that it was impossible to pursue——
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
On a point of Order. May I ask your Ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, as to whether a discussion on the internationalisation of airlines is any more relevant to the Third Reading than the delivery date of British aircraft?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Hubert Beaumont)
It is not a question of "any more relevant." It is the relevancy of the matter and I rule that it is not relevant to the present Third Reading discussion.
§ Mr. Bowles
I was only going to say that this will be a very bad Bill without it. I do not want to say much more at this stage, but I just want to add this. As I see similar Bills passing the Parliaments of other countries, it means that other countries are setting up their own nationalised air service, and it is beginning to impose on the world a serious rivalry and possibly something much more dangerous in international affairs than perhaps even arises from the production——
§ Sir P. Hannon
I would like to ask whether the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles) is dealing with a point of Order or making a speech in relation to the subject before the House, because my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Air-Commodore Harvey) had not finished his speech.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I understood the hon. Member had finished his speech and that Mr. Speaker had called upon the hon. Member for Nuneaton.
§ Air-Commodore Harvey
Further to that point of Order. The hon. Member for Nuneaton was raising a point of Order which seemed to be a long point of Order.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member Macclesfield (Air-Commodore Harvey) had resumed his seat.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Mr. Speaker called upon the hon. Member for Nuneaton and that being so, the hon. Member for Nuneaton has the Floor.
§ Sir W. Wakefield
Further to that point of Order. Prior to that the hon. Member for Nuneaton did raise a point of Order, and it seemed to us on this side of the House that he was providing further arguments to the point of Order which he had raised.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
That is not a matter for me to decide. I can only follow what Mr. Speaker has decided, and Mr. Speaker called upon the hon. Member for Nuneaton. He should now proceed with his speech.
§ Mr. Bowles
I did not raise a point of Order at all. I leave that kind of obstruction to hon. Members on the other side of the House.
§ Mr. Oliver Stanley (Bristol, West)
On a point of Order. Is the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles) allowed to say that he leaves that kind of obstruction to hon. Members on this side of the House? I understood that the use of the word "obstruction" was un-Parliamentary.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I must admit that I did not hear the word "obstruction," but if the hon. Member for Nuneaton used it he must withdraw it.
§ Mr. Bowles
I would point out to hon. Members opposite that the latest edition of "Erskine May" lays down that obstruction is not an un-Parliamentary expression.
§ Mr. Stanley
If you are right in Ruling that the hon. Gentleman should withdraw, Sir, is not your Ruling being challenged?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I think I said that I did not hear the words which were allowed to be used, but if they were used they should be withdrawn. I am now informed that I am rather out of date and that according to the latest edition of "Erskine May," which I do not wish to challenge, the word "obstruction" is not out of Order. I reserve my right to glance at "Erskine May," and if I am wrong I shall admit it to the House.
§ Mr. Bowles
I was trying to say that I have not yet raised a point of Order in this Debate, and I said that I left that kind of business to Members on the other side of the House. I was saying that 1 regarded the Bill as a danger unless other things follow quickly in its place. If we are to have any kind of safety, so far as the internationalisation of airways is concerned, we must get away from nationalisation, except as a temporary measure. In this matter the Ministry of Civil Aviation should be regarded purely as a midwife for the purpose of bringing——
§ Lieut.-Colonel Dower (Penrith and Cockermouth)
On a point of Order. May I ask, Sir, whether the term, "midwife" is a Parliamentary expression?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
There are few words that are not Parliamentary expressions, and that is not one of them.
§ Mr. Bowles
I appeal to my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to consult his noble Friend as soon as he can after this Debate. I hope Members on this side of the House will regard this Bill purely and simply as forming an intermediate stage towards the full blooded internationalisation and organisation of civil flying throughout the world. I shall not vote against the Third Reading, because I think the Bill is all right so far as it goes, but, as I have said, it must be regarded simply as a temporary Measure towards the end which I and my hon. Friends on this side have advocated in this Parliament, and in the last.
674 The only hope of maintaining world peace is to internationalise not only this form of travel, but all forms of communication. Otherwise, I feel that the world stands in danger of another source of rivalry. I have heard Members say, during the Debates on this Bill, "Let us fly British, because we must be supreme in the air." The Americans, the Dutch and the French are saying it. All cannot be the top dog. It is mathematically impossible. Only one or two can remain supreme. The struggle and international competition which we clearly see around us worries some of my hon. Friends and myself, and I ask my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to give an assurance that the Ministry will press on with the real policy of the Labour party, namely, internationalisation. If he does, we will accept the Third Reading of this Bill on the understanding that it is just a step in the direction of full blooded internationalisation.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Before I call on the next speaker, perhaps I might he allowed to read to the House what the latest edition of "Erskine May" says about obstruction. It states:The charge that a Member is obstructing the Business of the House, or that his speech is an abuse of the Rules of the House, is not out of Order.Therefore, with the permission of the House, I will ask leave to withdraw the statement I made to the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles), that what he said just now was out of Order.
§ 7.55 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore (Ayr Burghs)
Now that the internal matters of little importance to the Bill have been disposed of, I would like to go back to the Third Reading of this Measure. When our good friends the Americans were happily with us they introduced many quaint customs and unusual phrases and words, and among the many there was one which was not very popular with us, and which we did not fully appreciate. But that word is most peculiarly appropriate to this Bill. The word is "phoney," and this Bill is, in truth, a "phoney" Bill. It pretends to give freedom to a great, new, venturous service, to seek by imagination, skill and enterprise to get control of that service, and to establish its place in the mastery of the air. But the actual phraseology of the Bill strangles 675 at birth what might have been a very healthy and vigorous child. I need go no further than to say that as a result of this Bill civil aviation may be entombed in a musty Whitehall cupboard, there to leave the bones of a body which might have been one of the wonders and blessings of this country.
One seeks the reason for all this. It comes from the well-conceived but unfortunate slogan by which the Socialist Party climbed the ladder to office—"Nationalisation." Nationalisation was undoubtedly a good slogan, easy to pronounce and to memorise, and so useful for the politically immature. The only thing difficult about it was to make it work, as the Minister of Fuel and Power has recently confessed. However, I will depart from that brief discussion of nationalisation, which is hardly worth while, because we all know that it will lead us to disaster
Let us examine this ill-bred monstrosity of a Bill. The first thing that strikes one is the word "development," in the opening words of the Bill. You can develop a chill, a cold, a bad habit, or even a fatal disease, which is a very bad omen for this unfortunate and misguided Government. I would have thought that "improvement" might have been a more suitable word. Goodness knows, we need some improvement in our present set-up. It seems incredible when one looks around and sees England lingering, atom struck in regard to air development, while our friends in the United States, in alliance with our nearby friends in Southern Ireland, are forging ahead. One has only to consider the terms of the Bill to obtain ample confirmation of my statement. Clause 1 sets up the three corporations, the B.O.A.C., which is already in existence, the British European Airways Corporation, and the British South American Airways Corporation. Inadvertently, no doubt, but very unfortunately, there is not one word about Scotland——
§ Mr. McKinlay (Dumbartonshire)
On a point of Order. Is there anything in the Bill, Sir, about England and Wales specifically? In any case, I protest against an Irishman speaking on behalf of Scotland.
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Glenvil Hall)
On a point of Order. Is it in Order on the Third Reading to mention something which is not in the Bill?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Certainly it is not in Order. One must confine one's remarks and arguments to what is contained in the Bill.
§ Sir T. Moore
I will leave the question of that unfortunate omission of Scotland, and proceed to the next point. Having established these three alleged independent corporations, their independence is immediately destroyed by Clause 2, which places them under the direct dictation of the Minister. There is no freedom there. In Clause 3, the Minister seeks to build up this make-believe of local knowledge and experience by setting up these advisory committees with executive functions. What on earth is meant by advisory committees with executive functions, I have not the least notion. There is even one for Scotland, and it is mentioned. I call that an insult to the country which has helped to build up civil aviation. In subsequent Clauses, the Minister shows the truly "phoney" character of these concessions to local sentiment and knowledge by consistently stressing, throughout the Bill, that he is the supreme Führer. He cunningly endeavours to throw dust into our eyes by declaring, in Clauses 4 and 5, that he will consult these stooge directors of his corporations. They are nothing more than stooges, since they are appointed by the Minister and, presumably, can be removed by him.
We come, then, to the financial provisions of the Bill in Clauses 7 to 15. In those Clauses the Minister has the audacity, or possibly the temerity, to suggest that the necessary finance for the corporations will be provided voluntarily by the investing public. Can one see the investing public being hoodwinked by these so-called independent enterprises? The odd part of it is that, in practically the same breath, the Minister saves himself by making it clear that if the public will not be voluntary fools, they will be compelled to provide the money required through taxation, because the Treasury underwrites the whole "phoney" settlement. There are many other points to expose in this miserable Bill, but the time I have set myself is up. I know that my 677 colleagues on this side of the House will admit, and probably will be proud, that we have endeavoured to do our best with this wretched thing in Committee, but, of course, we have been unable to alter the fundamental folly of placing this great service, so vital to the future grandeur of our country, in the straitjacket of a Socialist State monopoly. Nevertheless, while I have great misgivings, I still wish it Godspeed.
§ 8.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Gallacher (Fife, West)
This Bill is concerned with providing the means whereby civil aviation can be developed through the making and the use of aircraft. That is very important. If it were a Bill simply to fly aeroplanes, there would be no hope of developing the genius of this country and building up anything like a real air transport service. To "make and use" aircraft is the basis of the Bill. But when we come to Clause 5o, we read:This Act shall, in its application to Scotland"—and maybe I shall be allowed to speak of Scotland, because I am only half an Irishman—have effect subject to the following modifications—(a) for any reference to an easement there shall be substituted a reference to a servitude.That is a good substitution, because if one reads the Bill, one finds that, as a consequence of the Bill, despite the slight concessions which the Minister has made, Scotland will be under a servitude to these corporations. To "make and use" is the basis of the Bill; it is the only basis on which civil aviation can be built up. Unless there is the right to "make and use," Scotland's genius, which has played such a tremendous part in developing sea transport, will not be able to play its part in developing air transport. Scotland is under a penalty; Scotland is in penal servitude, as far as this Bill is concerned. I want to impress upon hon. Members that Scotland has a record, a tradition, that is known all over the world for the genius of its engineers and for the part they have played in developing the sea transport of this country. I ask that this servitude be removed entirely from Scotland, and that the Minister find a way of getting even out of this Bill a situation in which Scotland can play its full part in "making 678 and using" and thereby develop its own aviation.
§ 8.7 p.m.
§ Wing-Commander Roland Robinson (Blackpool, South)
I listened with great interest to the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles). I thought he had an absolutely first-class idea; it was that the Government should abandon this Bill as soon as ever it could. I agree with the hon. Member that the Bill has many bad features, but I agree with him for different reasons from those which he gave. Hon. Members opposite have made it quite clear, as did the Government's White Paper, that they are in favour of the internationalisation of civil aviation. Surely, to set up the British Government in Government competition in the air is something that makes internationalisation more remote. If this Bill is bad for hon. Members opposite, it is also bad from our point of view, because for different reasons, we do not believe in a State monopoly, and I think this Bill creates a State monopoly in its worst form. I am against monopolies because under the monopoly system it is always the consumer who suffers, and the consumer may well suffer in the field of aviation as well.
I believe the Government have picked the wrong thing to nationalise here. This is a young and vigorous industry, and in spite of difficulties in the past, it has done well, and it has had a continuous record of expansion. It has been left in the hands of a few pioneers who have carried the burden for a long time, in the days when the public have not been airminded. Now, at the conclusion of a great war in which the air has played a vigorous part, people are much more airminded, and air travel will be needed more than ever. Now, when the prospects are good, the pioneers are to be struck down right away, without adequate compensation, in favour of Government enterprise. It is very hard that those who for many years have been drinking watered milk should now be robbed of the cream which should rightly be theirs.
I hope that if this Measure goes through our air lines will do well, hut I think it is a mistake to go in for a scheme of State monopoly and nationalization in an industry in which we have to meet very vigorous and enterprising foreign competition. It is not like a home industry: it is not 679 like coal or public utilities, where there is no competition from abroad. We want courage, initiative, vigour and flexibility of approach to meet foreign competition. In my opinion, those are all attributes of private enterprise. Even if we were to accept the Government's contention that there should be a system of monopoly, the present scheme is not the best one. If we are to have a monopoly the only sensible way is to appoint one overall corporation to control the whole thing with its subsidiary divisions organising different areas. Instead of this we are to have three boards, all of whom will have to be paid, three headquarters and three sets of staff. The additional cost to the Government was reckoned by the late Director General of British Overseas Airways at £150,000 a year, which will all be wasted under the present plan.
There is another reason why I criticise this Bill. Take our services to the United States; other nations and private companies will be operating companies which start from Europe and eventually finish over in the United States. If a passenger wishes to "buy British" he will have to start his journey in Europe and when he reaches England on a British aircraft will have to transfer to another line under different control and deal with another set of officials, We are making a mistake there; we are the only people who cannot offer a continuous service under one control and on one line all the way from Europe to the U.S.A., and I think we need that. There are many other grounds on which I must criticise this Bill if I had time, but I do criticise the lack of freedom of the Board. I agree with all the other hon. Members who have said that we are going to have people who must inevitably be puppets of the Minister who sits on top and calls on them to dance to his own tune.
I have mentioned the position of the consumer and I think the provisions of the Bill give entirely inadequate consumer protection; in fact I am not so sure that the travelling public will be cared for as well as they might be. We can take our minds back to earlier this year when on initiative which came very largely from the Ministry the Pan-American undertaking were prevented from cutting the fares on the Atlantic trip to what they believed was a remunerative rate. Our 680 Ministry said that the fares must be high, and again the consuming public suffered. Only today we read an announcement from an official Government source, that at the airports taken over under this Bill the landing fees are to be increased very steeply. The charges will certainly go against all companies but they will hit the smaller man who is going to fly, and if we are to maintain powerful Air Forces in this country we have to encourage the young men and women to fly. Government control or monopoly over the airfields is tending to make the cost prohibitive and on these counts I think we should resist the Bill.
I do not like the wide powers which are given to the corporations under Clause 2 to run their ancillary services, and I would have raised the point earlier had I had the opportunity. All these companies can go right into the catering business if they desire, and may even build hotels. The Parliamentary Secretary himself said that he hoped that many such hotels would be built and one of his supporters, the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes), said that here was a grand opportunity for developing a great tourist industry in the Western Isles and that we should build hotels there to develop not a flying industry, but the tourist industry. That is not the type of accommodation we are visualising or want to obtain, and I hope that in his reply the Minister will say that the ancillary services in the hotel line should be confined to providing reasonable food and rest on airfields when other accommodation is not available. At the moment the Minister could very well say that, as there is a shortage of hotel space in London, one of the corporations should build another Dorchester Hotel in the West End. I think that powers which may be used in that way are too wide and should have been limited. I hope that in considering the ancillary services the Minister will remember in his guidance of these corporations that there is available only a limited amount of money and not an endless public purse which will dole out millions of pounds every year. I hope he will see to it that the money is used to develop the flying services of this country and not ancillary services which could very well be established in other ways.
I think that it is now obvious why I consider this is a thoroughly bad Bill and 681 another nail in the coffin of British free enterprise. The last Government were called, sometimes by their friends and often by their opponents, "the Government of caretakers." They seem to have been replaced by a Government of undertakers who are busy burying all that is vigorous and free in British private enterprise. I should like to see this Bill defeated, but, as has happened during this Session, I suppose the usual procedure will obtain; the course of wisdom will not prevail and once again the Government majority will steamroller it through in the face of our opposition.
However, once the Bill is passed, I think we can say that the new corporations will be representing the main trunk lines of British civil aviation. They will have our good will and our good wishes and we shall always cooperate in trying to make these lines efficient. We wish them well, and above all we wish very good luck to the fine body of men who are working them. Many of them are my friends and it has been my privilege to fly with them. Only recently when I was in Bermuda with a Parliamentary delegation we had the pleasure of flying from Bermuda to Baltimore in a British flying boat. One thing which impressed me very much was that it was a very old craft and that it was very slow—the American service was twice as fast—but the men who are operating the British service with inadequate equipment were doing their best to make up for it, and their courtesy and their efficiency on board that flying boat were something that was to be unequalled throughout the rest of the world. When our visit to the other side came to an end, I flew back again by British Overseas Airways in company with my right hon. Friend the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) in one of the proving flights of the new Constellations which are going into service there. Here we had an aircraft which was the same as that the Americans were using, and again the courtesy and efficiency of the service and, indeed, the very pleasant tea we had on board which was also available to other passengers, were something the nature of which only this country could provide. I believe we can beat the world and if the Government see that we get first-class British aircraft equal to, and better than, those produced in America, we can give our men the best flying conditions they 682 can possibly have. Then our country will be on top. We will strive to see that they get the right aircraft and the right conditions.
§ 8.19 p.m.
§ Major Niall Macpherson (Dumfries)
Despite the invariable good temper and courtesy of the Parliamentary Secretary throughout the various stages of this Bill, my colleagues and I remain invincibly opposed to it. In the time at my disposal I should just like to mention the five reasons on which we oppose the Bill most of all. First, the Bill creates three monopolies; they are not monopolies in the sense of world cartels but monopolies which discriminate quite definitely against our own nationals. They are monopolies in the sense that there is an alien preference. We have heard of Imperial preference and of British preference, but this monopoly introduces an alien preference, which is a new principle altogether—restricting British but permitting foreign competition. We think that the more companies a country has competing for trade, the larger will be the share that that country will get of that trade. The Government may talk of adjusting air services to capacity, but nevertheless, whether it is doing that in concert with other nations or not, I do not think that Britain will be the country to get the larger share of the trade so long as we maintain this state of monopoly. Civil aviation is being put, in its childhood, into a strait jacket, as if it had already committed crimes and already gone mad, and before we know whether it can operate, as other countries are doing so satisfactorily, on a basis of private enterprise or not.
The second objection which I have to the Bill is that the monopolies are run from Whitehall. It is all very well for the Parliamentary Secretary to tell the Committee that under Clause 3 an Advisory Committee shall be set up for Scotland, that there will be a separate division for Scotland, and that Scotland should be satisfied with that. I am not an ultra-nationalist. There are big arguments for the internationalisation of air services; but if we are to have monopolies, Scotland should have its own monopoly. The Parliamentary Secretary countered this argument during the Committee stage by saying: 683The chief desideratum of an airline operator is to have a large and homogeneous fleet."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee "B," 16th May, 1946; col. 32.]Incidentally I doubt whether it is possible for our air lines to have a homogeneous fleet at all. The services required are so different.
Nevertheless, suppose it to be true. The argument is used to prove that Scotland cannot afford to have her own corporation. If that is true of Scotland, it is doubly true of Eire, which is less than half the size of Scotland and is all in one piece, whereas Scotland is spread over many islands. There is a limit to the number of planes that can effectively and efficiently be controlled. Hon. Members who have served in the R.A.F. can speak on these matters with a good deal more authority than I. They will agree, I think, that during the war control of 25 or 3o aircraft was considered to be as much as could be satisfactorily done. Can it be maintained that Scotland cannot operate from 25 to 3o aircraft satisfactorily, and that she has not the need for that number of aircraft? I do not believe it can. Therefore, I say there is the strongest case for a separate Scottish corporation. As the Bill is operated and developed I hope that, sooner or later, the Government will see reason and establish one.
Even granting that the interests of size and efficiency coincide, the Government will find that they have been most unwise to ride roughshod over nationalist susceptibilities. Scotland does not like monopolies, but if we are to have monopoly at all—and three are being established—there should be one for Scotland. I venture to predict that the day will come when the whole country, outside London, will resent and will revolt against nationalisation from Whitehall. It is not only Scotland that will do it; Lancashire, Yorkshire and Northern England will do the same. Undoubtedly Scotland has suffered from the departure of many of her best brains to the South and resulting financial control from the City of London but that is no reason why Scotland should be subjected to this new additional control by officials from Whitehall.
The third main objection we have is the power of the Minister to give any directions which he pleases. I am sure we all agree on this side of the House that 684 if we must have this set-up, the corporations should be allowed to work out their own policy and carry it out with the minimum of interference, consistent only with safeguarding the public purse.
The fourth objection that I have is connected with the question of charter services. Charter services are being crippled from birth. There is no question that the field left to them is so small that it can hardly be expected that those services will develop. Cheap travel can come only through the popularisation of air services and of individual flying. Under the Bill, this development will be exceedingly difficult. Cheap travel may come one day in this country, but so long as there are monopolies, flying will remain a privilege for the business man travelling on business, for the civil servant, and for the rich.
My last objection to the Bill arises from the penal Clauses. Before the war it was customary to raise loud and legitimate objection to the fact that monopolies dictated from above were in a position to dictate to those that infringed their laws and to withdraw supplies where they chose. What does the Bill do? It does not merely withdraw supplies. It inflicts upon those who infringe the monopoly a penalty of up to two years' imprisonment and of £5,000 per person per journey. Against what instinct or moral sense, against which of the rights of man, is one offending if one performs a public service by using the great new development of the air transport by carrying passengers for hire and reward? I believe that the barbaric severity of those penalties is a measure of the oppressive nature and of the unnaturalness of the Bill. I believe that the unpopularity that it is destined to arouse for itself will ultimately upset the Government altogether. The Government must clearly realise that they have aroused in Scotland by the Bill an animosity which it will be impossible for them to quell.
Notwithstanding all that, hon. Members everywhere cannot but wish the Bill well. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South Blackpool (Wing-Commander Robinson) has spoken of present operating conditions. We fear that the existing courtesies and facilities may not be maintained, under the operation of the Bill. We genuinely hope that they will. We wish the Bill well but we cannot support it, because we believe 685 that it will not bring the best results, which could have been obtained only under private enterprise.
§ 8.29 p.m.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Cooper (Middlesbrough, West)
I hope this House will pass the Third Reading of this Bill, and allow the Measure to go forward. The Bill will be the first industrial nationalisation Measure that is capable of being brought into effect. The framework is already in being to a large extent. That means that, when the Bill is passed into law, the Labour Government's first nationalisation Measure of an industrial nature, namely this Bill, will be capable of showing the results of nationalisation at an early date. That means, as I see it, that the eyes of the country, and in fact the eyes of the world—these services are of a world-wide nature—will be watching the actual development of our civil aviation services, and they will reflect great credit or otherwise on the policy that the Government is pursuing. It is, therefore, of tremendous importance to the Government, and I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to give the matter the most careful attention from the organisation point of view. To some extent the Clauses of the Bill have touched on matters of an organisation nature, and it is important that those Clauses should be implemented in such a way that the results are unquestionable in their success. It would easily be possible for wrong decisions to be taken which would have repercussions of a profound nature and would reflect on the Government's policy for extending nationalisation in other spheres.
I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that nationalisation has passed beyond the realms of experiment, and that it is now the natural method of development of large scale industry in any democratic country, for public services and natural resources to be operated in this way. The people of that country will, rightly and properly, expect to have some control of or some say in the way that public services will be run. In other words, if there is democratic influence in the method of control, the whole public will have a sense of participation in the way the services are run. In a similar way, the employees want the same feeling of being people who count—being men and women and not just cyphers, and being people whose opinions count and which will be taken into some consideration by those respon- 686 sible for the formulation of policy and the direction of the undertaking.
In saying that this has passed the experimental field, I suggest that we watch to see how other countries have run their civil aviation or other types of nationalised undertakings. I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that we should watch how other large-scale industries are run and pick out the best method used in them, irrespective of whether they are run as capitalist enterprises or public enterprises. We need to pick out the best methods of organisation, wherever they show themselves capable of producing the results we want.
In this regard I would like to direct the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to one large-scale industrial concern which I have referred to on previous occasions, which I feel we cannot study too carefully. It is often thought in this country that America in particular can give us some lead in large-scale organisation. The particular undertaking to which I refer is the Tennessee Valley Authority, whose constitution says:No member of the Board shall, during his continuance in office, be engaged in any other business, but each member shall devote himself to the work of the corporation.Although the Amendment that we should have full-time members on the boards of these corporations was lost, the Parliamentary Secretary said that it was not outside the bounds of possibility that the suggestions in that Amendment would be taken into consideration by the Minister. As this is a successful example of large-scale organisation, I trust that this provision in the T.V.A. Act will be taken into consideration.
A second point on which we can take a lead from this same undertaking is that there are only three members appointed to the Board of the Tennessee Valley Authority, instead of a minimum of five or a maximum of nine as is the case in each of these corporations. The remuneration of the three members of that board was only 10,000 dollars. I referred to this during the Committee stage and I think it is worth repeating.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I have allowed the hon. Member to go rather wide, but I do not see how he can apply what he is saying now to the Bill under discussion. This is the Third Reading, and he can only deal with what is in the Bill.
§ Mr. Cooper
I appreciate your Ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but I think the Bill refers to the fact that remuneration shall be paid to the members of the boards, and it was on that point I was touching very briefly. I will make my point in one sentence: it is that the remuneration we are intending to pay is in the neighbourhood of £5,000, £6,000 or £7,000 a year to the members of these boards, and I suggest that such figures are not necessary in order to obtain the best brains, and people who really are able, keen and qualified to act in the capacity of directors of these boards.
Clause 26 deals with the acquisition of land by the Minister, and I believe there is a certain amount of disquiet amongst local authorities in that they feel they may be under some disadvantage, as they will be prevented under this Bill from continuing to use their aerodromes or to develop other aerodromes. If the matter comes up for consideration under compulsory acquisition, it may be that the arbitrators will assess the amount of compensation on the basis that the land which had been used by the local authority as an aerodrome had now become of no more use than for agricultural purposes. It may be that in the new circumstances compensation would be on a very much lower basis than would apply if this Bill had not prevented local authorities from developing their aerodromes. I shall be grateful if the Parliamentary Secretary, when replying, can refer to that point in order to allay a certain amount of disquiet in the minds of some local authorities who have in the past developed aerodromes at the expense of the ratepayers and, when this Bill becomes law, may be penalised by what was previously an enthusiastic and public spirited action on their part.
I believe Clause 36 to be extremely important, because there was no such Clause as this in the previous Bill which brought British Overseas Airways Corporation into being, and a certain situation arose which I think, although I am not quite certain, will be covered by Clause 36. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary will touch on this point and give me an assurance that such a matter would come under this Clause? In 1942 and 1943 it was felt by a large section of the staff of British Overseas Airways Corporation that it would be far preferable to 688 organise the airlines of the corporation in a similar way to that in which the airlines of America are organised, that is, on a divisional or line basis. The staff had studied this matter. They were competent people who had gained a great deal of experience from being engaged in the operation of our overseas air services over a period of years. It was because of their intimate knowledge of the industry, and their study of the development of civil aviation in other countries, that they suggested this method of divisional organisation should be adopted by the corporation. At that time the directors refused this suggestion; in fact, they opposed it in every way they could. So much so, that when it was pressed by the staff, they were told that it would not he acceded to and, furthermore, they were dispersed away from headquarters and the leaders in certain cases sent to overseas posts in order that their ideas, which they had brought up collectively, could be frustrated.
The success of our civil aviation will depend to a tremendous extent on the enthusiasm of those engaged in it. If they are prevented from bringing forward points like these we shall lose a great deal of the knowledge that members of the corporations will have gained in their daily tasks. I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to assure me that Clause 36 will enable matters of that sort to be brought up when an occasion arises such as that in 1943. Since then the directors—who in some cases are still directors—have had to eat their own words as it were and have now acceded to the demand. It has been recently announced in the Press that divisional organisation is now the intention in the methods of operation adopted by these corporations.
This is an extremely important matter. It has been suggested that unions would cover such things as rates of pay and conditions of work, but that these matters of efficiency would not normally be dealt with by the unions. I hope Clause 36 will cover such matters as I have described. The whole success of these publicly owned undertakings will depend on the reactions of the staff to the new methods of organisation which are introduced. If we do not gain the wholehearted cooperation of the staff these corporations manifestly cannot succeed, because it depends on the people in the undertakings 689 putting forward their best efforts continuously. I am hoping that the method of control will be much less autocratic than in the past. Existing nationalised undertakings have not grown up under Labour Governments and that may account in some measure for the reason why they have partaken too much of the nature of large capitalist enterprises. We want them now to be an expression of our Socialist faith, and to give an opportunity for individual initiative to be shown by those employed in these undertakings.
§ Commander Galbraith (Glasgow, Pollok)
The hon. Member is developing a point of very great interest. I would like him to say whether from his experience in national service, he found there a desire to take account of these things put forward by members of the staff and if that was an outstanding feature.
§ Mr. Cooper
I am very glad that the hon. and gallant Gentleman has raised that point. I can speak with first hand knowledge of the Royal Air Force. I know that in units there, either squadrons or stations, where the commanding officer did take special precautions to bring his staff, both officers and other ranks, into the picture, and consult with them on questions of policy, he gained their wholehearted support and they expressed their initiative in the way I have described. That is a parallel in which people may be expected to show that sort of initiative in these nationalised undertakings, particularly under Clause 36 if it is used in the way I suggest. I hope I shall get a reassurance on that matter.
In Clause 19 reference has been made to the way in which there can be proper recognised bodies of employees associated with the executive staff who will discuss, together, at all levels the day to day problems that arise. That does not apply in B.O.A.C. now where there has been a great tendency to override people with keenness in a way most discouraging to those who really take an intelligent and lively interest in their work. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to have special regard to one thing. A report was made by another Government Department to which I would have refrained from referring had action been taken on it. The Parliamentary Secretary is aware of the contents of it. I am informed that one of the statements made in it was that 690 there were some 250 senior executives at that time, plus a further 15 senior appointments about to be created. It has not stopped there. The figure is now close on 300 senior executives. That means that at the present time there are about 300 employees in B.O.A.C., with salaries of £1,000 a year and above.
Mr. Ivor Thomas
On a point of Order. May I say that this does not appear to me to be in the Bill, and it does not bear any relation to the facts?
§ Mr. Cooper
I am glad to have that intervention on the part of the Parliamentary Secretary, but this particular information has been verified with absolute certainty. The point I make, which is associated with the Bill, is that you have to go on increasing the staff of an inefficient organisation, because people in it are not devoting themselves to the task as thoroughly and conscientiously as they might do. That is covered by the Clauses to which I have referred—19 and 36. We should try to reach conclusions through the mistakes made in the past so that we do not continue them in the future. Here we have a corporation which is running less than 200 aircraft. Yet, we are having to pay to senior executives from the public purse salaries of nearly £300,000 a year. That sort of anomaly, as I see it, is something which can be eliminated, and rightly eliminated: by the right and proper suggestion of people in the corporation who know what they are doing and are skilled men, who do not require an overburden of people who are brought in, in many cases, over the heads of people much better qualified than they are. Nearly 300 people are receiving over£1,000 a year. That is the sort of anomaly which, I am suggesting, can be overcome by a right and proper use of the spirit as well as the letter of the law as it shortly will be.
§ 8.48 p.m.
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan (Perth and Kinross, Perth)
I have no doubts in my own mind that this is a thoroughly bad Bill. I have said so before. I say so again, with great regret. I cannot change my opinion. It is difficult to say all I had hoped to say and confine myself to what is actually in the Bill without incurring your displeasure, Sir, because so far as Scotland is concerned it is a particularly sore point. What is in the Bill is that Scotland, so far as civil avia- 691 tion is concerned, is to be completely controlled from London. There is to be a small branch office—I forget what it is called—in Scotland, which will take its orders from the Minister in London. It is one of the worst features of nationalised industry that nationalisation must mean centralisation—and the centre will never be Scotland, it will always be London. That is a grave danger to our country.
I know that many Scottish Members on the other side of the House are very unhappy in their own minds about this Bill. I am perfectly sure of that. I found myself in almost complete agreement with the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) in his forceful remark a little earlier this evening. It may be an unusual combination, but I am happy that it should have occurred at least once. I wonder why hon. Members opposite gave in on these principles of Scottish aviation. They know, we do not. All I can say is that in our efforts to get the Government to answer the various challenges we put forth on behalf of Scotland we have never been answered in any degree satisfactory to us. The Parliamentary Secretary, with his usual charm, talked of Scottish sentiment and says it will not be forgotten, but he is like the wicked man the Psalmist spoke of,whose words were smoother than butter—yet were they very swords.As far as Scotland is concerned, he has given us nothing that matters.
This Bill definitely ties up Scotland to London for such a time as it is in operation. The great chance has gone for an aviation industry—industry apart from the flying—in Scotland. Scottish people are very anxious about this as they see week by week, month by month, unemployment figures rising to a terrible degree. They see that one more chance has gone for establishing a great industry which we must have to back up civil aviation if it is controlled. I do not wish to labour that point. I hope the Government will realise that feeling in Scotland is rising in this matter and rising fast. As I have said, unemployment is also rising very fast. There is no doubt but that we have to put up with this Bill, but we do that only under protest. There is not a thinking man or woman in Scotland today, be he a Conservative, Socialist or Liberal, or even a Communist, who does not 692 know, as far as civil aviation in Scotland is concerned, that it cannot be at its best until this method of taking away aviation from Scotland and forcing it on to London is done away with.
§ 8.52 p.m.
§ Group-Captain Wilcock (Derby)
There are only one or two points upon which I would like to touch. I consider it is a privilege to see this Bill through the House and, after the time we have spent during the Committee stage and else where, it is a relief. I believe that we have improved the Bill. Bon. Members opposite perhaps can take a little credit for that but not too much. This is not a perfect Bill, but during my short stay in this House I have not seen any Bill which is perfect. It is a fair Bill which will mean a tremendous lot to aviation in this country and the Empire. The main criticism by right hon. and hon. Members opposite has been that we are putting the corporations under State control. I have never seen the logic of that argument or their indignation. I do not think it has ever been sincere. It was a Conservative Government which made a State-owned corporation in B.O.A.C. They had very good reasons for doing that. Presumably, the Conservative Government considered that in operating throughout the world, including over the North Atlantic, it was necessary to have a State-owned corporation. I cannot see why in operating over the South Atlantic that also should not also be a State-owned corporation. I suggest that during the whole time they have been completely illogical in the arguments.
My reasons for wanting to see State-owned corporations are twofold. One reason is that I do not believe that we could operate civil airlines, scheduled air services throughout the world, successfully and efficiently except under State control. I do not think that would be possible. The State is and must be concerned in this. In connection with the services which we must run in the East and to Australia and, at present, those in Europe, private enterprise could not possibly succeed without State assistance. If State assistance must be found, I argue that these airlines might just as well be State controlled, as the Conservatives themselves thought in 1938.
Turning to the new organisation, I am disappointed in one thing, and I am 693 certain that the Parliamentary Secretary will not be surprised at my mentioning it—the absence of a controlling authority over the three corporations. I fear that we are going to have waste—waste in material, waste in personnel, and waste in money, by not having one controlling authority. I must confess that I shall watch this matter because I think that, with three advertising departments and three catering departments, three maintenance departments, and so on, waste is inevitable.
I come now to the question of part-time directors. The whole story on that has not yet been told. We have heard a lot of speeches, some of them brilliant, on this matter, and the hon. Member for Mid-Bedford (Mr. Lennox-Boyd) has been talking about the Labour Party Aviation Committee, of which I have the honour to be vice-chairman. The point is—and this story should be told—that the members of the Labour Party Aviation Committee do not necessarily oppose part-time directors, but that we all asked, and we still ask that, whoever should run the corporations should be doing it as a full-time job. If necessary, the Minister could have a part-time board somewhere. That is not objected to, but, surely, it is a full-time job at the moment, and we ought to have, somewhere or other, a board of full-time members to start these corporations off on their run, and that is a point on which we, on our side, feel very strongly.
The next point which I would like to make concerns charter flying. I am one of very many hon. Members on this side of the House—and this may surprise hon. Members opposite—who do not believe in nationalising everything and everybody, but we do want to see airlines nationalised because we do not believe that it is possible to run them efficiently unless they are nationalised. In that opinion, we did have the support of the Conservative Party, or, rather, the Conservative Party themselves took that view some years ago, so that it should not be difficult for them to take that view now. When our airlines are nationalised, I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will see that there is as little interference, and as much help, as possible, to everyone else concerned in aviation, whether charter companies, clubs or any other aviation activities. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary and the Minister will not be in 694 the position of policemen. I hope they will assist and help. I believe the Parliamentary Secretary, and also the Minister himself, is of that mind.
All I say now is that we should go ahead. The differences that have existed between hon. Members opposite and hon. Members on this side are purely differences of method. The aim of every hon. Member in this House, I am sure, and particularly all those concerned with aviation, is that we shall put British aviation on top. I remember the hon. Member for Mid-Bedford, either here or in Committee the other day, speaking of a conversation with a waiter or official on the Blue Train, whom he asked whether he feared air competition. I think the hon. Member told us that the official merely smiled in a rather superior way as much as to indicate that they did not fear air competition at all. I would like to tell the hon. Member that we will take that smile off that official's face before we finish.
As usual, my last word is on aircraft. I am very glad to see the Minister of Supply here, because I fear that there is a bogy of obsolesence over the Minister of Supply—the bogy that everything he orders will be obsolescent soon, so that it is better not to order it. That is a wrong policy and a disastrous one. We are a very great Empire, and even if aircraft which are ordered today become obsolescent in two, three, five or Io years' time, they will still be usable and can still be sold. The Minister of Supply knows, possibly as well as I do, that one of the most popular aircraft in the world today is the American Dakota, which design is about 10 years old.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Major Milner)
The hon. and gallant Gentleman is now departing form the Bill. Perhaps he will come back to it.
§ Group-Captain Wilcock
I apologise, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. With the passing of this Bill, we are, in a way, making some recognition of the work of the pilots and air crews of our civil flying Services during the war and in particular B.O.A.C. I would like to point out to the Parliamentary Secretary that, in the last 3o years, we have built up two of the biggest flying services and two of the finest aircraft industries in the world, In 1918 we allowed them to decline. It would be a 695 tragedy if we allowed that to happen this time. That is why I consider that we are in the hands of the Minister of Supply in this matter. If we allow any man to come out of an aircraft factory—and men are coming out of such factories in large numbers—because insufficient aircraft are being ordered, we shall be failing every one who has been in the flying Services and everybody concerned in aviation in the country. I suggest, very humbly, that we might, in the future, dedicate our air services and our State lines to the pilots and air crews of the Royal Air Force and R.N.A.S. who have fallen in the service of this great country.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The hon. and gallant Gentleman is not dealing with the Bill. He is only entitled to do that, and must not go into extraneous subjects which are not in the Bill.
§ Group-Captain Wilcock
Again, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I apologise. I will close by saying that the introduction of this Bill and the passing of it through this House will give encouragement to every pilot, air crew, and all ground staff within our national flying services. Good luck to them.
§ 9.3 p.m.
§ Mr. Douglas Marshall (Bodmin)
I thank you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, for allowing me a few moments, and I assure the House that I shall be extremely brief. I tried to speak on the White Paper and in the Second Reading Debate, but owing to the enormous amount of legislation passing through the House, I was unable to catch your eye. Sir.
The hon. and gallant Member for Derby (Group-Captain Wilcock) mentioned the question of waste, and I share that view with him. I, also, hope that all hon. Members in this House will watch and see whether or not waste will develop. The hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Cooper) also mentioned that, with an inefficient organisation, one always got an ever-increasing staff. During the years to come it will be of great interest to hon. Members to watch whether we get an ever-increasing staff.
I, fortunately, had the privilege of serving on the Standing Committee, and I think that one might reasonably say that this very bad Bill is now just slightly less bad—at least, that is my own view 696 about it. This is the last opportunity which this House will have of voicing a protest against the Bill. As we went through the weeks, studying this Bill, the outstanding feature which struck me was that page after page of it contained "If the Minister saw fit," "The Minister may," and so forth. The thought that kept developing in my mind, whether upstairs or when listening to the Debates in this Chamber, was how strange a race we are. We, as a British race, are always willing to die for liberty. Fortunately, that is so. Those of us here are here because people are willing so to die, and yet, after this greatest victory of ours, we are willing to sacrifice our liberty to a Socialist Minister. During the course of the proceedings upstairs, the Attorney-General answered a considerable number of points which were put to him by giving assurances that the Minister had no desire to exercise the various powers which were given to him in this Bill. He pointed out how gentle and kind the Parliamentary Secretary was, and I am certain that none of us doubted that point, but the strange thing is this perpetual life which is given to the Parliamentary Secretary. Perhaps it is thought by hon. Members opposite that when one deals with a Parliamentary Secretary or a Minister concerned with a nationalising Bill such as this, the level is somewhat higher than if one deals with food or clothing or something of that sort.
I consider that this Bill is a tragedy. In Clause 15 of the Bill one finds that provision is made for subsidies for these different companies. Hon. Members know perfectly well that the shipping companies and railway companies were willing to continue without any form of subsidy at all. I suppose the British taxpayer will once more have to foot the bill. When we were discussing this Bill upstairs, I referred to one particular Clause and asked whether or not the subsidies referred to in that Clause, if exercised, would go against the spirit of Command Paper 6709. The Parliamentary Secretary gave me no reply to that, and I hope that this evening he will refer to it. In conclusion, I would say that, in spite of the Socialist Government, I personally have an enormous pride in belonging to this race of ours, and feel so completely convinced that somehow the spirit of adventure which has characterised our race will rise above all this proposed 697 legislation. I say, good luck to the companies and God speed to the men and women who fly for them. I am comforted by the thought that once more, at some future time, we shall be a free people, and that this Bill will only be an unhappy memory of a woefully bad administration.
§ 9.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes (Smith Ayrshire)
During the progress of this Bill through the Committee stage, and this afternoon, there has been a dialectic onslaught on the Bill by Conservative Members representing the Scottish constituencies. As a representative of a Scottish constitutency which is most concerned with the Bill, because my constituency includes Prestwick, I wish to say that this is a good Bill and that it is the only possible Bill. When I heard these denunciations of the Bill I wondered what exactly would have been the alternative If a Conservative Administration had been returned at the General Election. Would they have handed over Prestwick to private enterprise? Over £2 million of public money was spent on Prestwick during the war, and I submit that in the national interest we would have been entirely unjustified at any stage in saying that we would have handed over the aerodrome at Prestwick to be exploited by a private company.
I am glad to know that we have been assured in the Committee stage that in Scotland we will have control of the administration of the aerodromes, and that under this Bill we will. have more opportunity to raise in public questions about what is happening on the aerodromes in Scotland than we would have had if these aerodromes had been handed over to some private limited liability company. It is not only the aerodromes. The skill of the airmen has to be taken into account. I fail to see why the nation, having spent so much money on training airmen in Canada during the war, spending a very large sum per head, should now go out of the picture and hand the whole business over to private enterprise to exploit the skill and technical experience which these men gained at the national expense.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for South Blackpool (Wing-Commander Robinson) raised a point in connection with an Amendment which I 698 moved in Committee. On that Amend-merit I received an assurance from the learned Attorney-General that under this new Bill the corporations would be able to take over hotel services as ancillaries to the aerodromes. I believe it will be a very good thing for Scotland, especially for the outlying parts of Scotland and the islands, which are now very remote from the mainland, to have the tourist traffic developed in connection with the civil aviation proposals. When the new aerodromes are opened up, and when the airline traffic is organised, I hope we will make the outer islands of Scotland as accessible to the people of this country as Blackpool is today. I quite understand why the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for South Blackpool objects to the new corporations presenting opportunities for developing hotel services in the remote parts of the country. I believe it will be a good thing for people to get away from Blackpool to some of the generally undiscovered parts of this island of ours.
I have no doubt that this Bill is a far better thing for Scotland than some of the proposals that have been outlined by right hon. Gentlemen. The outburst of Scottish nationalism on the part of the Conservative Party is receiving very little support in Scotland. In the course of the Debate one hon. Member quoted Dr. Johnson's remark, that patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel. I disagree with that remark. After listening to these outbursts of patriotism in the nationalist Press I have come to the conclusion that patriotism is not the last refuge of a scoundrel but the first. This outburst of pseudo patriotism on the part of the Scottish Conservatives is not general in Scotland, and we are not deceived by this line of attack upon the Bill. I share the views which have been expressed by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Douglas Marshall) about the personnel of the new corporations. I do not want to see these three corporations manned by "guinea pig directors" from the city. I quite understand why the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid-Bedford (Mr. Lennox-Boyd) is in favour of part-time directors. It is in the tradition of the party to which he belongs.
§ Mr. Hughes
For example, I do not want to see duplication in the new corporations; I do not want all the plum jobs to be given to people in the City of London. Recently, one very interesting position has been given to a very well known political figure who is a Member of another place. I do not think a gentleman who is a director of innumerable other companies should be called upon to serve on the new corporations. I note that a recent appointment to an important position was given to a gentleman who is a director of a bank, a director of a small arms company, a director of a carriage and wagon company, a director of the Royal Insurance Company, on an investment trust, on a railway company, and serving on three or four different companies which are subsidiaries of the company known as Lewis's. I suggest that we should not adopt that attitude in appointing the personnel of our new boards. If the Conservative Party want to appoint a gentleman who is on innumerable boards and who has innumerable irons in the fire, that is no reason why the same procedure should be adopted by the Government in manning the new corporations which are to be set up under this Bill. Although we shall watch sympathetically how this Bill is applied to Scotland, I believe it is an infinitely better Bill than any that a Conservative Administration would have produced, and we hope it will have the result of greatly increasing the opportunities of the people of this country of travelling by air.
§ 9.16 p.m.
§ Mr. E. L. Gandar Dower (Caithness and Sutherland)
This evening we have had some very serious contributions to this. Debate on the Third Reading of the Bill, and I would appeal to every hon. Member who takes part to speak with every sincere wish, as I feel sure they do, for the benefit of civil aviation. Almost for the first time, and possibly for the last time, I have some sympathy with the Parliamentary Secretary. I regard him at the moment as like a person anxiously pacing the passage outside a maternity ward; he is expecting the birth of a child, and like many a father he thinks he can forecast what it will be. [An HON. MEMBER: "Triplets."] Yes, I accept that, and of a very weird and strange kind. The hon. and gallant Member for Derby (Group-Captain Wilcock) has expressed good wishes to this Bill, 700 but I must challenge him on his question as to where could free enterprise have found the money to deliver a fine, keen and magnificent aviation. I say from keen individualism and from public subscription, as we have always done in the past to build up the railways, the steamship companies and the Empire. I do not doubt that had it been left to the citizens in this postwar age to blaze the trail of civil aviation, they would have delivered something to be proud of.
This Bill is known to us, and I am sorry that it does not contain a set-up like that in America, with free enterprise, a "Civil Aeronautics Authority," and a Licensing Authority. Too much depends on the poor Minister. He is sacrosanct, and I fear he must always be worried. He is human like ourselves, but too much responsibility is being laid upon him. It is suggested that we must place the blame for this Bill upon the previous Government who, under the Swinton plan, produced something very akin to nationalisation. Indeed, I think we must blame that Coalition for the evils that are falling on civil aviation today. At least, I can claim with modesty that I was not a party to it. In fact, at the time I expressed my opinion in no uncertain manner. I well remember being shocked at the scheme put forward, and I bought a floral tribute, tying a label to it which read thus:''To British civil aviation. Slain by political compromise. And from its fair and unpolluted flesh may violets spring.So today, I am quite unashamed when I condemn the previous scheme and this one. But I would make a few constructive remarks, because I think this is an occasion when no one should play for laughter. North, South, East of London we want aerodromes. May this Bill provide them. We need charter firms admitted to all terminal aerodromes. If the Government, in fact, want charter to succeed, some of the conditions under which they operate now are highly disgraceful. There is a large hangar at Croydon full of pieces which, I understand, are for examination and salvage; but no one visits this hangar, except mice.
I must briefly touch on Scotland, though I will do so as shortly as possible. We have had speeches from the hon. and gallant Member for Perth and Kinross (Colonel Gomme-Duncan) and from other 701 Scottish Members, tout I would say that Scotland definitely dislikes not having its own Corporation. There are those who feel that keenly, and are hurt by it; and there are those people who regard control from Whitehall as something funnier than Dave Willis and Jack Anthony, and they are, indeed, extremely funny.
I am winding up a 25-year interest in civil aviation. We have heard a good deal about the necessity for subsidy. I am reasonably proud, though not too much, I hope, of having operated an airline for 12 years, with a subsidy for a period of only nine months. I must tell the Parliamentary Secretary that I look forward to rebirth. I shall do my best to enter the arena again in which I am most keenly interested. I must apologise, like King Charles, for being "such an unconscionable time a'dying."
§ Mr. Gandar Dower
Of course, death is often dull to onlookers, especially to those who are anticipating a rich inheritance, free from all death duties, and with the seat warm to occupy, money to squander, and several thousand pounds of advance bookings.
§ 9.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Medland (Plymouth, Drake)
In passing one or two remarks on this Bill, I want to say with what interest I have viewed the development of the Parliamentary Secretary during the passage of this Bill upstairs and down here, and the success he has been making of his job. I hope that at the end of this day he will feel gratified that he has, at last, put a nationalised air service on the map, so far as this country is concerned. The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Douglas Marshall) did his stuff from his point of view, but I want to remind him that this Bill will make it possible for him to use a plane from his constituency in the South West to the rest of the British Isles for the first time in history, and that that is an accomplishment.
§ Mr. Douglas Marshall
I am perfectly convinced that had the railways been allowed after the war to develop air services, that would similarly have been possible, and that I should have been able to take an aeroplane from the West of England to any part of the country.
§ Mr. Medland
I am quite sure that the railways would never have developed airlines from the South West of England, either to London or anywhere else, I have had some experience of their operations in our part of the country. We have heard a lot about Scotland, but there is a region called the South West of England, and I appreciate the Parliamentary Secretary's efforts on our behalf, at any rate.
I should like, however, to ask the Parliamentary Secretary a question, and have the answer, for the purpose of the record. I do not know if the Paymaster-General is going to wind up, but I want to ask a question about pensions. I notice that in Clause 19 there is special provision for staff wages and pensions. Is this Clause to be the model upon which the relationship between the employees and nationalised industry is to be based? If so, will the Parliamentary Secretary tell me why there should be three separate negotiations with three separate companies at three separate times for what will inevitably be the same kind of man? Will the engineer who gives certificates for aircraft on an airport, working for one corporation and then another on the same airfield, have to have three separate negotiations with three separate corporations? Will the Parliamentary Secretary say who is to coordinate the work of these corporations and the working conditions in them?
It is laid down in Clause 19 (2) that it any agreement is made, it must be reported to the Minister of Labour. What is the use of reporting an agreement to the Minister of Labour, unless the agreement is coordinated with the other corporations. Who is the coordinating body? Is it to be the Minister? Are the men employed by these corporations to be regarded as civil servants, because in the next Clause it is laid down that the corporation shall set up a pensions scheme for such classes as the Minister thinks proper? Are all the persons to be incorporated in the scheme, or is anyone to be left out? We have had some experience of this among employees in the Admiralty, where certain sections have been left out of the pensions scheme. I ask the Minister to put on record whether all the employees are to come into the pensions scheme, and whether they are to be regarded as servants of the corporations entitled to pen- 703 sions wherever they may be. Does the Minister envisage a kind of Whitley Council or working party for the industry? Are the men to be taken into consultation in the development of the industry? I can tell hon. Members opposite that whenever employees in Government service have been kept informed as to what was required of them, and when they knew the demands and all the facts, the spirit with which they entered into the job was quite different from when they were treated as mere hirelings with orders to obey and work to do. I hope the Minister will tell us whether he is to set up a working party, and whether the employees will be consulted, because these things are being done in other branches of Government service, and for him to fall behind at this stage would be a great tragedy.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Edward Davies (Burslem)
It is not my intention to speak at any length on this most important Bill, but, having sat assiduously through the Committee stage of the Bill, I feel that I am in a position to say a word at this last stage of its passage through this House. I congratulate the Government and the Minister on the way in which the Bill has been handled and—although I have not always agreed with the Parliamentary Secretary, or with the Government, for that matter—it may be said, with great confidence and without misunderstanding, that we have reserved to ourselves more individualism than the Conservatives or Liberals on the other side of the House would give us credit for. We are not robots, who just do blindly what we are expected to do by the Government. Our party gives us the maximum freedom, and we are proud of that. We have had our differences in Committee, and while we have failed in some ways to convince the Government, we are all united in our praise of the method with which the Parliamentary Secretary has handled this difficult subject.
As a young Member, I am particularly proud that, once again, the party to which I have the honour to belong is honouring the pledges given at the General Election, when we said that it was the intention of the Government to coordinate transport under a system of public ownership. I do not share the apprehensions of hon. Members opposite that this is necessarily 704 the death-knell of all progress and enterprise in civil aviation. I am glad that, in this birth of a new infant in the transport world, the Socialist Government of this country have now the power to ensure that this great and vital service is used in the best interests of the community. Indeed, 1 should lament such a potent and vital weapon being left in the hands of any private monopoly, for who can say what our position would be in the event of the unfortunate catastrophe of war, if we failed to use the opportunity to build up a great air fleet which would seek to defend this country, if needs be, in the times that lie ahead. I like to think in more pacific terms, and to believe that now we have, or, at least, will have, a socialised civil aviation in this country, which will mean cheap service for the common people of the country, so that we may go abroad to see our comrades in other lands, and so that greater understanding may result. I believe that by the socialisation of civil transport we shall have the cheapest, safest and most efficient air transport system in the world.
There are some things about the Bill which I would not have introduced had I been responsible. I cannot see the necessity for three separate corporations. I can see the argument of maintaining, so far as possible, the merits—and there are some—of private enterprise, but I cannot see the virtues of part-time boards. I would like to have had full-time boards. I console myself with the thought that, whatever is done under this Bill, and whatever the results may be in the immediate future, the whole position is empirical, and we shall have to adjust the machine as time goes on. What I would desire is a flexible kind of organisation, which would lend itself to the new circumstances that may arise in the future. I am glad that so early on, we have had an opportunity to take social control, because I believe that, by so doing, we can obviate many of the mistakes which we have inherited, and which confront us today in relation to the old transport industries.
I hope that we may have the benefit of the services of young men in this industry. I am alarmed to find that so many of the people already appointed, and who have been named, are so aged. I myself would have regarded it as a young man's industry. I would have 705 thought that after the great experience which the war provided in training and in administration that we should have had ample young men at our service, who should have filled even the executive posts. I believe it will be the intention of the Government as time goes on to give these young men a chance. Under Clause 19 the opportunity is given to look after staff interests and welfare in the undertaking, and I believe, if the Government make it possible for the young men and women engaged in the industry, to have a full share in the life and well being of this new industry we shall make a great success of it. I will conclude on the note on which I began—congratulating the Parliamentary Secretary and the Government on the Measure now before us.
§ 9.36 p.m.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Mr. Ivor Thomas)
It now falls to me to say a few words of farewell to this Bill before it is committed to the tender mercies of another place. It has shown the workings of Parliament very well. The Government can feel satisfied in that the main lines of the Bill have not been altered, but I readily admit that we have had several improvements in the previous stages, for which we are grateful to hon. Gentlemen, especially in the very complex Part II of the Bill. It would not he possible for me to answer many of the points that have been raised in Debate, but there are one or two that I ought to answer.
My hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Cooper), who, like Pilate, does not stay for an answer, has alleged that at a certain date there were 300 members of the staff of B.O A.C. with salaries of £1,000 a year. The figure which should have been quoted was 89 members with a salary of£750 or more, which I submit is far from excessive for a corporation of 21,000 persons. That statement is on the same level of reckless inaccuracy as the one he made the other day that Major McCrindle had written a certain letter; at that time Major McCrindle was in Bermuda. The hon. Member for the Drake Division of Plymouth (Mr. Medland) asked me several questions about pensions and negotiations with staff. As far as negotiations with the staff are concerned it is our policy, of course, that they should be left with the employers—the corporations—and the 706 trades unions concerned. It should be a matter for direct negotiations between them, but we share his views about the value of the Whitley Council machinery and in our own Department we use it.
It is our intention that provision shall be made for pensions for everyone. There need not be three separate sets of negotiations, because on many matters the three chairmen will meet in consultation. They do, in fact, have routine meetings now and this is obviously a matter on which they will wish to consult together. The hon. and gallant Member for South Blackpool (Wing-Commander Robinson) asked about the development of the ancillary services, particularly hotels. We shall claim the same liberty for public corporations as privately owned railways enjoy. Hotels are an essential part of the undertaking, and we do not intend to go into this in any small way.
What is the Bill we are now sending to another place? The heart of Part I is in Clause 23, which reserves regular scheduled services to three public corporations, but outside that reserve there is a free footing for everybody who cares to enter it. Many fears have been entertained by hon. Members opposite about the charter operators. I can say quite emphatically that genuine charter operators have nothing to fear. The law is a terror to evil works but not to good. For the person who deliberately tries to break the law heavy penalties are laid down. But if anybody is in doubt let him go to a good lawyer for advice, or come to my Ministry. The genuine charter operator has a wide field before him, and we wish him luck in it.
The regular scheduled services are reserved to the public corporations. We have not followed, in our schemes of socialisation, any rigid uniformity, such as Members opposite would seem to desire us to follow on some occasions. The distinctive feature of this Measure of nationalisation is that instead of having one corporation we have three. That has been attacked from both sides of the House, but I believe it is a most valuable provision, and I think we shall see, between these three corporations, what our Russian friends call, "Socialist at 707 emulation." Already we have seen the advantages from this policy. It is not one which I should advocate for all industries, but for this new industry this policy of having three separate corporations is one which will pay very handsome dividends. The small extra sum, if there is any, which may be involved in headquarters expenses will be more than offset by the benefits that will be gained.
What are the features of the three public corporations which are being set up? In the first place, they will be publicly owned, in the sense that there will be no ordinary stock giving control over them. The capital will be provided in the form of loan stock, with no control. Hitherto, in the case of the British Overseas Airways Corporation, it has been provided by the National Debt Commissioners. In the future it would be open to the corporations, under arrangements made with the Treasury, to get stock by issue direct to the public. What method will be followed will depend on the circumstances at the time that capital is needed. The second feature is that these corporations will be publicly controlled. I mean that the Minister will appoint the boards and that he will have certain reserve powers of control. They have been attacked, but I suggest that they are rather like the headmaster's cane.
Most headmasters keep their cane in the cupboard; they do not brandish it all the time. So will the Minister's powers normally be kept in the cupboard. The corporations will be publicly controlled, because the Minister is ultimately responsible, and can be questioned in Parliament for their success or failure, as should be the case in a Parliamentary democracy. But, in their day to day operations, the corporations will be free. It is my noble Friend's strongly expressed desire that the corporations should have independence in day to day management. They must be run as commercial undertakings, and we dismiss suggestions which have been made from the opposite side of the House, that they will be run from Whitehall. I have the highest respect for civil servants, but they would be the first to admit that their training does not qualify them for this very different work.
The corporations will be commercial undertakings in certain respects, which I will specify. They will have, in the first 708 place, freedom to select their own staff, as we have decided after Debate. Next, they will have freedom of commercial bookings, and as an earnest of our intentions in that respect I should like to announce that the London Air Priorities Board are reducing priorities as quickly as they possibly can all over the field. The latest step we have taken is to abolish priorities on the South American service, with effect from 15th August. By that time there will be capacity on the route equal to the demand, and we can, with safety, from that date release priority control entirely. On the Constellation services to New York, we are taking only 24 seats for priority passengers, and that number will not be increased as the Constellation services increase in number. That is the second freedom of commercial operations—the freedom of commercial bookings.
Per week. The third freedom which the corporations must have is that of direct contact with the manufacturers, a point on which many hon. Members have rightly laid great emphasis. The Ministry of Supply play a most helpful part in the aircraft supply programme at the present time. Anyone who has any inner knowledge of the system would certainly not belittle what they do in allocating aircraft fairly between the different demands; but it is most important, as hon. Members have insisted, that the user should be brought into direct contact with the manufacturer, and we shall see that that is done. As there has been some misunderstanding, I should like to say that I have never known a single case in which the operators have expressed a firm desire to have any given aircraft in which that desire has not been met.
The second part of the Bill deals with the nationalisation of aerodromes. This has been a highly complex subject, and perhaps I may draw attention to some of the essential features of the Bill as it now leaves the House. It involves, in the first place, the compulsory acquisition of land. It involves, secondly, the acquisition of rights over neighbouring land for such purposes as installing lights and radar beacons. It involves, thirdly, powers for the Ministry of Transport to 709 stop or divert highways in the neighbourhood of aerodromes. It involves, fourthly, rights of control over land in the neighbourhood of aerodromes in order that aircraft may be navigated with safety. This has been a very elaborate part of the Bill to draft, but I think it is now a thoroughly satisfactory Measure. As far as the procedure is concerned, it will he the procedure laid down for the public acquisition of land in the Acquisition of Land (Authorisation Procedure) Act, 1945. We do not innovate in this matter. That must be my answer to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for West Middlesbrough—that local authorities are not placed in any disadvantageous position by Clause 26, because their land and their aerodromes will be acquired from them on exactly the same terms as those on which they themselves acquire land from private persons. The same procedure will be used.
§ Mr. Cooper
This point is of considerable importance, and I would like to clear it up. My hon. Friend says that the local authorities will not lose, because their land and aerodromes will be taken over on the same basis as they are taken over from private individuals. The point I made was that they will lose because this Bill has come into being.
I said that the Ministry of Civil Aviation will acquire aerodromes from local authorities on the same terms as the local authorities acquire land from private owners. They will do so on the same basis as is laid down in the Acquisition of Land (Authorisation Procedure) Act. Compensation is not mentioned specifically in the Clauses dealing with acquisition because we are accepting the same basis for compensation in respect of land as is laid down in other enactments. It will be found in the Lands Clauses Acts, the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919, the Town and Country Planning Act, 1944, and the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, 1945. It means that for the acquisition or diminution of value in land we shall pay at 1939 values, with the appropriate supplement where there is a supplement due. For the disturbance of enjoyment, there will be payment at current values, and for the expense of carrying out any directions under the Measure there will be a payment of the actual cost of so doing.
710 These are the two main part of the Bill. I hardly need to go into the other details where we have to make meticulous provisions for births and deaths in aircraft and so on. This Measure is a 10-year plan in civil aviation; the financial Clauses look towards a period of lo years, and as it happens that is the period for which we have to plan in the designing of aircraft. British civil aviation is already a great British enterprise. As in every war we always begin with a withdrawal in this country, so in civil aviation we have been told that we have no aircraft, no aerodromes; the one thing winch has been admitted is that we have a policy, although no one on the other side of the House seems to like it. We are having all these charges made against us just as Great Britain has in every critical moment in her history until I one day the critics will wake up and say, "Those British have done it again."
Hon. Gentlemen have quoted the American operators so much against us that I cannot refrain from telling the House what Mr. Trippe, the head of Pan-American Airways, said when he was in this country a little while ago. He said that he would like to congratulate the-Civil Aviation Ministry on its fine effort at short notice in getting Heathrow operational, and the aggressive manner in which it had tackled the problem. He thought that there would be keen competition in world commercial aviation and he looked forward to the B.O.A.C. giving its usual fine service. He concluded by saying, "We shall have to get up very early in the morning to keep our place in the sun when the B.O.A.C. gets moving." This is the plan which the Government invites the House to approve for its civil aviation. I believe that it opens up a bright future for British civil aviation, and that our public corporations will prove equal to any other undertakings in the world and will open the way towards that internationalisation of civil aviation which we so much desire to see.
§ Sir W. Wakefield
Before the Parliamentary Secretary sits down will he clarify the point he made that the corporations will be able to have direct contact with the manufacturers? Does that mean that they can buy their aircraft from whatever manufacturer they please without reference to the Minister, or to the Treasury?
Not without reference. I was making the point that there is such direct access at the present time and that when the corporations expressed a strong wish 1 have never yet known it overruled.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd (Mid-Bedford)
I must remind the hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary that the last person who is known publicly to have quoted something very friendly and complimentary that Mr. Trippe had said to him after negotiations for opening up an air route to South America added, "It was only when I got to the door, with his compliments still ringing in my ears, that I found he had even taken the shirt off my back." We very much hope that the same kind of thing will not be experienced here. I am very glad that the hon. Gentleman has reminded the House that this Bill will now go to another place, and I hope the Government will listen, through the medium of their Minister of Civil Aviation there, to any advice they may receive in that other place which is, on this subject, almost more than on any other, qualified to express a valuable opinion. It contains three Air Chief Marshals, of whom two have only just been ennobled for service in this war; it contains at least five former Secretaries of State for Air and Ministers of Civil Aviation; it contains the Chairman of the Brabazon Committee, which is working out all the types on which the Government are now relying; and it contains the Chairman of the B.O.A.C., the
§ premier Government corporation. So that it is surely entitled to express an opinion.
§ The Measure will go to another place, but before we part with it, possibly temporarily, I should like on behalf of the Opposition to join with those who have wished Godspeed to those who will make and design our British planes, to those who will fly them, to those who will organise the routes that will be flown, certainly to the hon. Gentleman's own Department and in particular to that preeminent Permanent Secretary whose war work many of us knew at firsthand and immensely admired. Again, and not least, I extend those sentiments to those charter operators and private flyers who, we believe, will play a great part in the future of British aviation; in fact, to all who can help to make our name respected and admired in the world.
§ We thank the Parliamentary Secretary for the courtesy that he has shown on the Floor of the House, for his constant readiness to give way and answer our questions, and for the courtesy which he showed in the Committee upstairs. But courtesy is not enough. We believe this to be a thoroughly bad Bill and we have no option but to register that feeling in the Division Lobbies.
§ Question put, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 270; Noes, 91.715
|Division No. 246.]||AYES.||[9.56 p.m.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Davies, Edward (Burslem)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.||Brook, D. (Halifax)||Davies, Ernest (Enfield)|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Davies, Harold (Leek)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Brown, George (Belper)||Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)|
|Allighan, Garry||Burden, T. W.||Deer, G.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Burke, W. A.||Delargy, Captain H. J.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Diamond, J.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Byers Lt.-Col. F.||Debbie, W.|
|Attewell, H. C||Callaghan, James||Donovan, T.|
|Austin, H. L.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Driberg, T. E. N.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Champion, A. J.||Dugdale, J (W. Bromwich)|
|Ayles, W. H.||Clitherow, Dr. R||Dumpleton, C. W.|
|Ayrlon Gould, Mrs. B.||Cluse, W S.||Durbin, E. F. M.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Cobb, F. A||Ede, Rt. Hon. J C.|
|Baird, Capt. J.||Cocks, F. S.||Edelman, M.|
|Balfour, A.||Coldrick, W.||Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Barstow, P. G||Collick, P.||Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)|
|Barton, C.||Collins, V. J.||Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)|
|Battley, J. R||Comyns, Dr. L,||Evans, E. (Lowestoft)|
|Bechervaise, A E.||Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G,||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)|
|Benson, G.||Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)||Fairhurst, F.|
|Bing, G. H. C||Corlett, Dr. J.||Farthing, W. J.|
|Binns, J.||Crossman, R. H S.||Foot, M. M.|
|Blackburn, A R.||Daggar, G.||Fraser, T (Hamilton)|
|Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Daines, P||Freeman, Peter (Newport)|
|Gallacher, W.||McKinlay, A. S.||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)|
|Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||McLeavy, F.||Shawcross, Sir H. (St. Helens)|
|George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)||MacMillan, M. K, (Western Isles)||Shurmer, P.|
|Gibbins, J.||Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Simmons, C. J.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mainwaring, W, H.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Mallalieu, J. P. W.||Skinnard, F. W.|
|Gordon-Walker, P. C.||Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)||Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)||Manning, Mrs, L. (Epping)||Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Marshall, F. (Brightside)||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Mathers, G.||Snow, Capt. J, W.|
|Grey, C. F.||Mayhew, C. P.||Soskice, Maj. Sir F.|
|Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Medland, H. M.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Messer, F.||Stamford, W.|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Swingler, S.|
|Gunter, Capt. R. J.||Mikardo, Ian||Symonds, Maj. A. L.|
|Guy, W. H.||Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Haire, Flt.-Lieut. J. (Wycombe)||Mitchison, Maj. G. R.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Monslow, W.||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)|
|Hamilton, Lieut-Col. R.||Moody, A. S.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Thomas, John R. (Dover)|
|Hardy, E. A.||Morley, R.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Harrison, J.||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Thorneycroft, H. (Clayton)|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham E.)||Tiffany, S.|
|Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Mort, D. L.||Titterington, M. F.|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Moyle, A.||Tolley, L.|
|Hicks, G.||Murray, J. D.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Hobson, C. R.||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Ungoed-Thomas, L.|
|Holman, P.||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)||Vernon, Maj. W. F.|
|Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)||Viant, S. P.|
|Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Noel-Buxton, Lady||Walkden, E.|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)||Oliver, G. H.||Walker, G. H.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Orbach, M.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)||Paget, R. T.||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Irving, W. J.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Weitzman, D.|
|Janner, B.||Parker, J.||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)||Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Jones, O. T. (Hartlepools)||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Wigg, Col. G. E.|
|Jones, J. H. (Bolton)||Pearson, A.||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.|
|Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Peart, Capt. T. F.||Wilkes, Maj. L.|
|Keenan, W.||Perrins, W.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Kenyon, C.||Porter, E. (Warrington)||Wilkinson, Rt. Hon. Ellen|
|Key, C. W.||Porter, C. (Leeds)||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|King, E. M.||Pritt, D. N.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.||Proctor, W. T.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Kinley, J.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Kirby, B. V.||Randall, H. E.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Lang, G.||Ranger, J.||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Lavers, S.||Rees.Williams, D. R||Williamson, T.|
|Lee, F. (Hulme)||Reeves, J.||Willis, E.|
|Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Reid, T. (Swindon)||Wilson, J. H.|
|Levy, B. W.||Rhodes, H.||Woods, G. S.|
|Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Richards, R.||Wyatt, Maj. W.|
|Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.||Yates, V. F.|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Robens, A.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Lyne, A. W.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|McAdam, W.||Rogers, G. H. R.||Zilliacus, K.|
|McAllister, G.||Scollan, T.|
|McEntee, V. La T.||Scott-Elliot, W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|McGhee, H. G.||Segal, Dr. S.||Mr. Collindridge and|
|McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. A.||Captain Michael Stewart.|
|Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)||Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.|
|Aitken, Hon. Max||Drewe, C.||Linstead, H. N.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R,||Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||Lucas, Major Sir J.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.|
|Boles, LI.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Gage, Lt.-Col. C.||McCallum, Maj. D.|
|Boothby, R.||Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Bossom, A. C||Gammans, L. D.||Maclay, Hon. J S.|
|Bower, N.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G||Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumtries)|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.||Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.||Manningham-Buller, R. E.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C||Marples, A. E.|
|Challen, C.||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Marsden, Capt. A.|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.||Howard, Hon. A.||Marshall, D. (Budmin)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Hulbert, Wing-Comdr. N. J.||Maude, J. C.|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Hurd, A.||Mellor, Sir J.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)|
|Dower, Li.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||Langford-Holt, J.||Morrison, Rt. Hn. W. S. (Cirencester)|
|Dower, E L. G. (Caithness)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Neven-Spence, Sir B.|
|Drayson, Capt. G. B.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Nicholson, G.|
|Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Smithers, Sir W.||Watt, Sir G. S. Haruie|
|Pitman, I. J.||Spearman, A. C. M.||Wheatley, Colonel M. J.|
|Poole, O. B. S. (Oswetry)||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Prescott, Stanley||Sutcliffe, H.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Price-While, Lt. Col. D.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)||York, C.|
|Renton, D.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'ddt'n, SO||Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall)||reeling, William|
|Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Ropner, Col. L.||Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F||Mr. Studholme and|
|Sanderson, Sir F.||Vane, W. M. T.||Major Conant.|
|Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)||Wakefield, Sir W. W.|
Question put, and agreed to
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.