HC Deb 24 April 1961 vol 639 cc28-9
39. Mr. Gough

asked the Minister of Aviation if he is now in a position to make a statement on the formation of a National Flying Trust for the promotion of gliding and light aeroplane flying.

Mr. Thorneycroft

Yes, Sir. Following recommendations from the Standing Joint Committee on Private Flying, the Society of British Aircraft Constructors and Shell-Mex and B.P. Ltd. have set up a fund of £100,000 to be subscribed over a period of three years. The purpose of the fund will be to make low-interest loans to flying and gliding clubs for the purchase of equipment and other essential needs, and at the end of the three years the position will be reviewed in the light of the experience gained.

I am grateful to the Society and to Shell-Mex and B.P. Ltd. for showing in this practical way the value they attach to the flying and gliding club movement.

Mr. Gough

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply, which will be welcomed by all interested in private flying. May I ask him two questions? First, would loans under this trust be made available only to British aircraft or to foreign aircraft as well? Secondly, can he give an assurance to the House that his Ministry will back this by helping in providing more aerodromes, otherwise the scheme will be impracticable? May I ask, particularly, whether he will help by providing Fairoaks for private flying and Croydon for business flying?

Mr. Thorneycroft

My hon. Friend's second supplementary question raises a wider point. Perhaps he will put down a Question, if he wishes to ask about particular aerodromes. The purpose of a loan is a matter between those who administer the trust and the private flying clubs. I should have thought that as the Society of British Aircraft Constructors is so prominent in the fund, there might be a certain disposition for British aircraft to have preference in this matter, although I understand that nothing of that kind is laid down.

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