HC Deb 25 January 1956 vol 548 cc194-5
35. Mr. D. Jones

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what replies he has given to the application of the West Hartlepool Town Council for On-Call Customs facilities at Greatham aerodrome.

Mr. Profumo

This application is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary and I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer he received from him yesterday. The town council has been so informed.

Mr. Jones

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that the closure of this airport cost the local authority over £3,000 last year to put it on a care-and-maintenance basis, whereas in 1953, when Customs facilities were in operation, it cost the Customs authorities only £4 for the part of the season during which it operated? Does this not make complete nonsense of the Chancellor's request to local authorities to try to save money when the Government are forcing this authority to spend more than £3,000?

Mr. Profumo

No, Sir; I cannot accept that. The hon. Member will be glad to know that the corporation has informed us of its intention to apply for re-issue of a public-use licence as from the middle of April this year.

Mr. Shinwell

Since this matter has been raised, may I ask the hon. Gentleman, together with his right hon. Friend, to look into the whole question of the provision of adequate air facilities in the North-East? Is he aware that there is only one private company—the Hunting Clan Company—which provides air travel between London and the North-East, and that the schedules are most unsatisfactory? Will the hon. Gentleman look into the matter?

Mr. Profumo

That hardly arises out of this Question. It is no part of my right hon. Friend's business to force any air line to run any route, nor is he in a position to do so. That is a matter for the air lines themselves, whether nationalised or private, and they should apply to the Air Transport Advisory Council.

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