HC Deb 21 July 1969 vol 787 cc1214-5
17. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the Beeching report on Gibraltar will be published; and if he will make a statement on further British assistance to Gibraltar.

24. Mr. Tilney

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further help he is considering to offset the effect on Gibraltar of recent Spanish action.

Mr. M. Stewart

On the question of assistance to Gibraltar, I have nothing to add to what my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State told the House on 14th July. The report of the Beeching mission draws on confidential information and would not be suitable for publication in its present form.—[Vol. 787, c. 14.]

Mr. Wall

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a feeling that Gibraltar is getting the kicks and Britain is only contributing money? Does he agree that what is needed, at least, is a long-term economic plan with British help designed to maintain and expand the economy of the Rock?

Mr. Stewart

Yes, Sir; this has been in our minds for some time and we do not neglect it. But what I have said about the report of the Beeching mission is right.

Mr. Tilney

Can the Foreign Secretary say what is the cost to the British economy and also the economy of Gibraltar of the Spanish blockade? Will he look into the possibility of reducing tourist air fares to Gibraltar? Does he not agree that it would be better to cut some of the Spanish remittances from this country rather than turn every cheek to the Spanish lash?

Mr. Stewart

There were three parts to the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question. On the last, there is a later Question on the Paper. As regards the cost to the economy, I could not answer that without notice. I shall look into the question of reducing tourist air fares.

Mr. George Jeger

A minute or two ago, my right hon. Friend said in reply to a question about retaliation that it must be something which would help Gibraltar and help Britain without injuring Gibraltar. Would not a decrease in the number of flights between Britain and Spain and an increase in the number of flights between Britain and Gibraltar achieve just that end?

Mr. Stewart

I have looked into that, but it is rather more complicated than my hon. Friend supposes.