HC Deb 19 March 1951 vol 485 cc2099-100
46. Mr. Heathcoat Amory

asked the Prime Minister whether, in the interests of economy, he will consider merging the Ministries of Civil Aviation and Transport.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

No, Sir. As I have emphasised in my replies to similar Questions on previous occasions, no substantial economy could, in fact, be achieved by the merging of these two Departments.

Mr. Amory

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that now that the greater part of the industries which are supervised are nationalised, and have their own boards, the effect of these big Departments on these industries, at the top, must result in very heavy overhead expenses? If he does not like this plan, has he any other proposal for reducing the burden of overheads that these industries have to carry?

The Prime Minister

I quite agree that this is a matter which, at first sight, is attractive. I was attracted to it myself, and I thought of discussing it with the Minister of Transport, but after careful examination I could not see that we should get any substantial advantage from it.

Mr. George Ward

Will the Prime Minister guarantee that the staff of these Ministries will be kept down to a minimum, and that those who understand aircraft operations, are not subordinate to those who do not?

Mr. Perkins

Does the Prime Minister now disown the document "Labour's Policy for Civil Flying," in which it is said that aviation transport would be handed over to the Ministry of Transport?