HC Deb 21 March 1956 vol 550 cc1218-9
6. Mr. Beswick

asked the Secretary of State for Air how many years service he expects to get from the unmodified Comet II aircraft purchased for Transport Command.

Mr. Birch

All the Comet II aircraft coming into the Royal Air Force are expected to give four or more years' service.

Mr. Beswick

Are we to understand that the Secretary of State accepted into the Service an aircraft the price of which was not his concern at all but the life of which was limited to 2,000 hours utilisation and which was not able to do certain operations at all because of restrictions laid upon it as to airworthiness? Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that this is the best way to get value for the taxpayers' money?

Mr. Birch

The aircraft to which the hon. Member refers, with that number of hours life, is useful for the purposes for which we are using it. [Laughter.] Indeed, it is. We are, of course, concerned about price, but what I am saying is that we do not ourselves negotiate prices.

Mr. Usborne

Is not the long and short of it that the Government have decided to give a subsidy to de Havillands and that this is the way they are doing it—by buying up otherwise scrap aircraft?

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