HC Deb 15 July 1964 vol 698 cc1179-80
12. Mr. F. Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Air Force stations have been closed in the last three years; how many are expected to close in the present year; and what has been the estimated financial saving.

Mr. H. Fraser

In the period 1961–63 inclusive, 53 Royal Air Force stations have been closed, representing a total saving of £10 million a year. In addition, the sale of land and buildings has so far realised the sum of £4.25 million. During this year, a total of 14 stations will be closed, producing an estimated saving of £4 million. These closures have already been announced locally.

Mr. Taylor

I am most grateful for that reply, but will my right hon. Friend agree that, before further closures, he should consider carefully the advisability or possibility of a partnership in use with civil aviation, since this would have the effect of more usefully operating some airfields and also, perhaps, proving a financial contribution towards the cost of upkeep while at the same time adding to our much needed civil air travel facilities?

Mr. Fraser

If my hon. Friend will write to me, I shall be very happy to answer him. It is a very complicated point. The cost of keeping these stations open is very great, and it could not fall normally on the Defence Vote.