HC Deb 08 February 1967 vol 740 cc1626-7
8. Mr. Leadbitter

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he has taken to encourage the Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Tees-side airports to work jointly in the interests of regional development; and what grant is available for a joint arrangement by the airports.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu)

With a view to avoiding uneconomic competition between the airports, a grant of £150,000 was offered on condition that a joint controlling body was formed. Under the guidance of the Northern Economic Planning Council the two groups of authorities are endeavouring to establish such joint control and I hope that their efforts will prove to be successful.

Mr. Leadbitter

Will my hon. Friend take into account the fact that a very serious situation is developing concerning Tees-side Airport? For a number of years now the condition on this grant has been well known, but unfortunately there has been some misunderstanding either by the Ministry, the Tees-side Airport, or the Newcastle Airport, sufficient not to produce any progress. Will my hon. Friend give an undertaking that this sad situation as to regional communications will be brought to an end? Will he say that he can make a statement to the House fairly soon?

Mr. Mallalieu

I am not aware of any misunderstanding about the terms of the grant, but if there is such a misunderstanding and my hon. Friend will let me know about it, I will do my best to dissipate it.