HC Deb 05 February 1964 vol 688 cc1137-8
9. Mr. Millan

asked the Minister of Aviation whether he will have full consultations with the staff concerned before bringing forward any final proposals for the future management of the Highlands and Islands aerodromes.

Mr. Marten

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Millan

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that we are glad to hear that? Quite apart from the concern of the staff, there is wide public concern that the new arrangements for aerodromes in the Highlands and Islands should maintain the high standards of technical efficiency and safety which they have at present under the Ministry of Aviation, and many of us think that there will have to be very strong arguments indeed for transferring their management to an outside agency.

Mr. Marten

I am most grateful for the hon. Gentleman's compliment to those who operate this service. He has stated exactly the sort of factor that we shall take into account before arriving at a decision.

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

While this is a matter of general national interest, hon. Members representing the Highlands and Islands are particularly concerned with the maintenance of employment, which we regard as having reached an irreducible minimum on these airfields consistent with efficiency and justice for those concerned. Will the hon. Gentleman pay particular regard to the employment point of view?

Mr. Marten

I am chairman of the Ministry of Aviation's Joint Industrial Council and I gave this assurance to the trade union side at a meeting the week before last.