HC Deb 24 April 1968 vol 763 cc224-5
11. Mr. Onslow

asked the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to review the number of aircraft operated by his Department.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

This matter is kept under regular review and subject to financial considerations it is the intention to modernise the fleet and thus to reduce the number of aircraft required.

Mr. Onslow

Is the Minister satisfied that there is no conflict at present between the requirement to carry out calibration flights for internal communication purposes and the use of some of these aeroplanes as taxis for Ministers? Is it not particularly extravagant to have used one aircraft to take the hon. Lady the Parliamentary Secretary to Basle in September last year and to bring her back from Strasbourg later? Why could this not have been done by a civil flight?

Mr. Mallalieu

There is no conflict whatever about the use of one particular aircraft for journeys by Ministers and senior officials where the timing of the journey or the routeing does not make it possible to do it by scheduled services.

Mr. Marten

On the other hand, having been in the hon. Gentleman's office, would he not agree that this can increase the efficiency of Ministers—if they do get around quickly to various jobs?

Mr. Mallalieu

Any Minister who has had this job knows how very important it is not to waste time.