HC Deb 18 February 1963 vol 672 cc14-5
23. Mr. W. T. Rodgers

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science, as representing the Lord President of the Council, what steps the Lord President of the Council is taking to assess the cost of providing an international airport to serve Tees-side in relation to the cost of implementing the Local Employment Act on Tees-side.

Mr. Denzil Freeth

My noble Friend is considering the adequacy of the existing airport facilities and air services for the needs of the region. I am not sure that I understand the latter part of the Question; the desirability or otherwise of an airport is not an alternative to designation as a development district, nor can the cost of the latter course be assessed, since it would depend on the number of assisted projects there.

Mr. Rodgers

I am very grateful to hear that the Lord President of the Council is considering this matter, but is it not the case that while short-term remedial measures under the Local Employment Act are desirable, whatever their cost may be, it is important that we should improve the long-term infrastructure of the area? Therefore, would not giving this international airport priority and making finance available make a direct contribution towards solving this problem?

Mr. Freeth

When my noble Friend was in the North-East representations were made to him both as to the lack of an airport to serve Tees-side and also the inadequacy of the services to the Continent from the existing airports. These he will naturally consider. My noble Friend is fully seized of the importance of adequate communications of all types as part of the infrastructure of growth in the North-East.