HC Deb 16 May 1960 vol 623 cc922-3
54. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Aviation whether he is aware that the Scottish Transport Council had unanimously agreed to recommend that he, in conjunction with British European Airways, should resume negotiations on the proposed surcharge costs for the Sunday services to Orkney and Shetland; and what action he proposes to take in the matter.

52 and 53. Mr. Grimond

asked the Minister of Aviation (1) if he will reconsider his decision not to pay for the opening of aerodromes in Orkney and Shetland on Sundays;

(2) when his Department was first asked to open the aerodromes in Orkney and Shetland on Sundays.

Mr. Sandys

British European Airways asked my Department to open the aerodromes in Orkney and Shetland on Sundays. These requests were received on 9th January and 4th February, respectively. I agreed on condition that B.E.A. would pay the additional costs involved. However, B.E.A. has informed me that in these circumstances it does not propose to proceed with the proposed services.

Mr. Rankin

Will not the right hon. Gentleman follow the course which I have suggested in the Question? Does he not realise that these are important and necessary services? He should not take B.E.A.'s answer as final but should try to reopen negotiations in order to make sure that the services are run on Sundays.

Mr. Sandys

The cost of running airports is already heavily subsidised, and I see no justification whatever for increasing further the burden on the taxpayer.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Does the Minister not realise that this surcharge is prejudicial to the trade and industry of the whole north-east of Scotland? [HON. MEMBERS: "On Sundays?"] Will he reconsider it with a view to rectifying the great wrong which has been done?

Mr. Sandys

The sum involved for these two aerodromes is £400 for the whole summer season. If people feel strongly about it and it is all that valuable for trade, I should have thought that they could reach some accommodation. In any event, I feel that this House should support Ministers when they try to keep down public expenditure.