HC Deb 16 March 1955 vol 538 cc1287-8
44. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he is now prepared to make a statement on the future of the engineering base at Renfrew.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

No, Sir.

Mr. Rankin

Is it not the case that the Minister proposes to establish at Renfrew Airport a firm called Airwork General Trading Company, which will employ only two-thirds of the men at present employed there? If that is the case, is the Minister aware that the substitution of private industry for a nationalised industry in that part of Scotland will be highly resented?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

No decision has yet been made on the British European Airways application to move. Consequently, the other points which the hon. Member has in mind do not at the moment arise.

Major Anstruther-Gray

Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that no hasty decision will be reached on this question, which is being watched so closely throughout Scotland?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I admit that I have taken a certain amount of time and a good deal of trouble to consider this matter, and I can certainly give my hon. and gallant Friend the assurance for which he asks.

Mr. Ross

Will the right hon. Gentleman realise that the Scottish public are watching this matter very carefully, and are very much under the impression that on transport matters, particularly in the case of Renfrew, a very decided anti-Scottish bias is being shown?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

This matter arises from the decision of British European Airways that economies in its organisation could be achieved by such a move. Neither British European Airways nor anybody else has the bias which the hon. Member suggests.

Mr. Woodburn

Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that economies of a small kind like this might be far outweighed by the defence liabilities of a concentration of civil aviation in the centre of London? Would he not agree that the dispersal of the industry is a factor that should be taken into account?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

While, on the B.E.A.C. figures, I would not agree that the economies are small, the sort of considerations to which the right hon. Gentleman refers are just the considerations at which we are looking.

Mr. Rankin

On a point of order. Will the right hon. Gentleman assure us—

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of order. It is an abuse of the practice of the House.

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