§ 19. Mr. Shepherd
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if his attention has been called to the delay in the clearance of air freight at London Airport occasioned by the refusal of the Customs to operate at night and over weekends; and what steps he is taking to enable the airlines to deal expeditiously with freight.
§ Mr. H. Brooke
I am not aware of any delay in the clearance of freight at London Airport attributable to the lack of Customs facilities. Customs procedures have already been adapted to facilitate the clearance of air freight, and officers are available at all times to deal with really urgent traffic.
§ Mr. Shepherd
Does my right hon. Friend realise that that statement is at variance with that expressed by British European Airways? Will he make further inquiries?
§ Mr. Brooke
I made extensive inquiries before answering this Question, but if my hon. Friend can give me any particular case of alleged delay, I will look into it. However, my information is that, in general, people using the airport are very satisfied.
§ Mr. Beswick
Is the Financial Secretary also aware of allegations that there is greater delay in clearing freight for the British Corporation than for the American concerns for certain stated reasons, and that there are a number of known cases in which long-term freight contracts have been moved from the Corporation to American concerns, simply because they are cleared through the Customs more quickly?
§ Mr. Brooke
I cannot believe that there is anything in the allegation, but I will certainly examine any information which the hon. Member cares to send to me.