HC Deb 25 November 1953 vol 521 cc332-3
23. Mr. John Taylor

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what steps are being taken to avoid the gradual reduction of activity and skilled staff at Renfrew Airport as a result of the present policy of concentrating all overhaul and maintenance work on Elizabethans and Viscounts in London Airport and all similar work on Pionairs and Vikings in Renfrew Airport with consequent lessening activity in the latter as the older types of aircraft are sold.

Mr. Profumo

I understand that the management of British European Airways and representatives of the trade unions concerned are in consultation on this matter through the machinery of the National Joint Council for Civil Air Transport. No decisions on the future activity of the Renfrew maintenance base will be reached before further meetings have been held.

Mr. Taylor

Would the Joint Parliamentary Secretary be willing to pass on to this Joint Committee the following considerations: the importance of maintaining an aircraft industry in Scotland, the threat that exists to that industry and the need for some alternative work at Renfrew Airport to take the place of the work that is departing because of the sale of the older types of aircraft?

Mr. Profumo

In so far as those problems concern the consultations which are now taking place, I am quite sure that they are well aware of them.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Is my hon. Friend aware that this seems to indicate a change of policy on the part of B.E.A.C. and that there is genuine apprehension in Scotland that this industry may be lost to Scotland?

Mr. W. Elliot

Before my hon. Friend answers, might I ask him whether he is in consultation with the Service Departments as to the great importance of the dispersal of aircraft work and the strong inadvisability of concentrating it especially within easy bombing range of the Continent?

Mr. Profumo

These matters are all well known and are under consideration.