HC Deb 04 February 1959 vol 599 cc387-8
31. Mr. Beswick

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation to what extent he requires fees and other payments made to directors and chief executives of subsidiary companies of the airline Corporations to be submitted to him for approval; and if he will issue a general direction requiring these payments to be published.

Mr. Watkinson

I have no statutory responsibility for the appointment of directors and chief executives of subsidiary companies of the air Corporations, and have no power to require that the amount of their remuneration should be submitted to me for approval. The answer to the second part of the Question therefore is, "No, Sir."

Mr. Beswick

Would the Minister regard this as satisfactory accountability to Parliament of these companies? Is he aware, for example, that it is believed that in one case the payment of something of the order of £80,000 was made to a non-United Kingdom director or chief executive; and if a payment of this kind was made, does he mean to say that it does not appear in the accounts that are made available to Parliament?

Mr. Watkinson

If the hon. Gentleman has any particular case he would like to put to me, I will look at it. I have given him a general answer on policy. That has always been the continuing policy and I think it perfectly correct.

Mr. Popplewell

Would the Minister and the Leader of the House have another look at this matter, because there are a number of such people appointed? We are supposed to have public accountability, and it seems rather a shield for the Minister to protect himself by saying that it is the duty of the Corporations to make appointments. The House should know what is being paid for this type of appointment.

Mr. Watkinson

As I have said, I have no power or status in the matter at all.