HC Deb 09 July 1962 vol 662 cc941-2
1. Mr. K. Lewis

asked the Minister of Aviation what categories of persons passing through London and other airports are accorded Very Important Person treatment; and what is the annual cost of maintaining these facilities.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aviation (Mr. C. M. Woodhouse)

Special arrangements are accorded to persons whose public positions, here or abroad, justify the provision of some privacy or ceremonial reception, for example, royalty, heads of State, Ministers and holders of senior political, diplomatic and military office. The cost is about £13,000 a year.

Mr. Lewis

That seems reasonable as as far my hon. Friend's Department is concerned, but is the aware that many of the nationalised airways are increasingly providing V.I.P. treatment and what is called Commercially Important People treatment for people and that this is getting out of hand? Would it not be a good idea if my hon. Friend's Department represented to I.A.T.A. that on all tickets where people request either V.I.P. or C.I.P. treatment there should be an extra 10 per cent. charged? This would cut it down considerably.

Mr. Woodhouse:

I will certainly consider my hon. Friend's interesting suggestion. I would point out that in practically all the cases, and I think all the cases which have attracted public criticism recently, it has been the airline operators and not my Department who have been responsible for the practices criticized. We have no power to compel airlines to alter their practice in this matter.

Mr. Rankin

Can the hon. Member do something about securing V.I.P. treatment for distinguished authors and other literary persons?

Mr. Woodhouse

It is our practice in an extremely limited number of cases, going beyond the categories which I have listed, to give such treatment. Needless to say, we do this with a most critical eye. Only a very small handful of people of personal eminence have been so treated on our initiative. They include, for example—and I merely give examples—the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Brabazon and you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker:

Sir Arthur Vere Harvey.

Sir A. V. Harvey

But is it not a fact——

Mr. Speaker

Order. I feel that we ought to get a move on with Questions, and I called the hon. Member to ask the next Question.