§ 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, 1180 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.