HC Deb 02 February 1949 vol 460 cc1647-8
4. Mrs. Leah Manning

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation when he expects the Report of the Working Committee set up to give further consideration to the part of the report of the Whitney Straight Committee detailing the financial difficulties facing flying clubs at the present moment.

Mr. Lindgren

My noble Friend has just received the recommendations of this Working Party and is giving them his consideration.

Mrs. Manning

Can my hon. Friend tell me when they will be available to the House and to the clubs, and is he aware that the financial difficulties are so great that in order to meet them the fees to would-be flyers will have to be raised to such heights that it will be impossible for many people who wish to learn to fly to do so?

Mr. Lindgren

I am afraid that they have reached that stage at the present time. So far as the report is concerned, it will not be made public because it is Departmental advice to my noble Friend and the Service Ministers. My noble Friend's decision made in conjunction with the Treasury will, of course, be made public.

Mr. Edgar Granville

Would the Parliamentary Secretary bear in mind that the present position of these clubs is very serious and that many will have to close down altogether unless immediate action is taken by his Department?

Mr. Lindgren

Yes, Sir, and that view has been expressed by my Department; but my Department is only one of a number concerned. The Government, in making a decision, have to consider all the opinions involved.

Mr. Beswick

Will my hon. Friend suggest to the Treasury that some assistance could be given within the next two months by remission of tax payable on petrol used by these flying clubs?

Air-Commodore Harvey

Does not the Parliamentary Secretary realise that this matter has been under consideration for nearly two years; and will he really press his noble Friend to make up his mind by the time the Service Estimates are introduced, because the clubs are about to "go bust"?

Mr. Lindgren

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Scollan

Is my hon. Friend aware that the high costs of running are largely due to the fact that the cheaper type of plane made after the 1914—18 war has gone out of production, and no steps have been taken to see that that type of plane is made available for these flying clubs?

Mr. Lindgren

We are interested from the point of view of the flying clubs because of the effect on the light aeroplane industry. This is one of the problems that we are considering in conjunction with the Ministry of Supply.