HC Deb 14 March 1947 vol 434 cc1749-53

(1) There shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament—

  1. (a) any sums payable by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom by way of contribution to the expenses of the International Civil Aviation Organization under the Chicago Convention;
  2. 1750
  3. (b) such expenses of any delegate, representative or nominee of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom appointed for any purposes connected with the Chicago Convention as may be approved by the Treasury;
  4. (c) any expenses incurred by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom for the 1751 purposes of Chapter XV of the Chicago Convention (which relates to the provision of airports and other air navigation facilities); and
  5. (d) any other expenses incurred by a Government Department by reason of this Act.

(2) There shall be paid into the Exchequer—

  1. (a) all sums received by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom by way of repayment of expenses incurred for the purposes of the said Chapter XV; and
  2. (b) all sums received by way of fees paid under an Order in Council under section one of this Act other than fees which, under an order made under section two of the Air Navigation Act, 1936 (which authorises the delegation of certain functions of the Minister of Civil Aviation to certain bodies), are paid to any of those bodies.—[Mr. Lindgren.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Lindgren

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

Hon. Members will have noticed that this Clause is already printed in the Bill. It was not taken in another place for privilege reasons. It enables finances to be provided for the Ministry, for the international organisation and other Government Departments.

Mr. C. Williams

Some figures are given earlier in the Bill as to finance. We are legislating to enable a great deal of money to be spent. [HON. MEMBERS: "It has been spent."] Some of this appears in the first page of the Bill, but I would like Subsection 1 (d) of the new Clause explained. That is extremely wide, and I do not think the Opposition ought to allow this Clause to pass without commenting upon its looseness, and about it not being in keeping with the dignity of the House.

Mr. Lindgren

There are some factors which can be estimated. It is possible to estimate what the obligation will be for the affiliation fees which have to be paid by this country to the international organisation. It is possible to estimate what the costs will be for our delegates to this Conference. But we cannot estimate the administrative costs for other Departments, in the case of a man who spends half his time for three weeks in the year in connection with administration arising out of this Bill. That cannot he adequately defined, and this Clause gives power for expenditure to be incurred in that direction. That expenditure will come up on the various Departmental Votes, and will be subject to the control of this House. The Clause enables expenditure to be undertaken by other Departments in connection with their Departmental administration.

Mr. C. Williams

That is what I object to. It is like rabbits. A Department is invited to begin spending, and this Clause enables the rabbits to breed indefinitely by the spending of taxpayers' money. It means thousands of other rabbits getting a little bit of the money.

Sir G. Fax

Can we know whether expenses will be incurred by Government Departments overseas by reason of this Bill?

Mr. Lindgren

That could be done it required, by the Dominions or Colonial Offices. But that would not be a matter for the Ministry of Civil Aviation, because we have no jurisdiction over those Departments.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

Schedule agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill reported, with Amendments: as amended, considered.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."—[Mr. Lindgren.]

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I am sorry that the harmonious discussion on this Bill has been impaired by a lengthy Debate on the new Clauses. But this is no fault of the Opposition, nor was the Division that has taken place due to any fault of ours. I want to tell the acting Leader of the House that the Government will one day regret that facilities freely granted for one purpose have, against the wishes of the Opposition, been used for another. Having said that, and registered our protest, we welcome this Bill in general. It is largely the product of Lord Swinton's hard work at Chicago. He had to face both foreign and domestic critics. The foreign critics have been largely convinced; the domestic critics have introduced the result of his own labours, and on this occasion we should point the ironical moral that the people who gave him so little support, and criticised his actions so freely in this House, have introduced the result of his own labour. We wish the Bill every success, and hope that it will increase the air prosperity of Great Britain.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed, with Amendments.