HC Deb 26 November 1969 vol 792 cc409-10
18. Mr. Fortescue

asked the President of the Board of Trade when the White Paper on the Report of the Edwards Committee on Civil Aviation will be published.

27. Mr. Robert Howarth

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he will publish a White Paper on the Edwards Committee Report on civil air transport.

39. Mr. Lubbock

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will now make a statement about the Government's proposals for the air transport industry in the light of the Edwards Committee Report.

Mr. Mason

The White Paper was published on 12th November.

Mr. Fortescue

In the Edwards Report it was recommended that the objective of civil aviation in this country should be to provide the best service to the customer consistent with safety. Do the Government accept that recommendation or do they, as it appears in the White Paper, water it down?

Mr. Mason

No, Sir. Safety is always in the forefront of our minds. No doubt the hon. Gentleman is aware that we even had a short debate about air safety on the Adjournment last night.

Mr. Howarth

Can my right hon. Friend say how he hopes to incorporate the A.R.B. in the proposed civil aviation authority? Will he still be able to make use of the large amounts of voluntary work done on this body by the leaders of industry?

Mr. Mason

Yes, I hope that that will continue. My hon. Friend should be aware that the A.R.B., the A.T.L.B., B.O.A.C. and B.E.A., people whose contracts were running out during the course of next year, will be receiving an extra 12 months' contract so that we can use all the expertise necessary in the formation of the civil aviation authority, but we hope that those who have given us a great deal of experience and advice in voluntary capacities will continue to do so.

Mr. Lubbock

Will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider the answer which he gave me last week when he indicated that the civil aviation authority would be responsible for the restructuring of private industry in accordance with the Government's White Paper? Is not this properly the responsibility of the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation, if its services are required? Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether, if the private sector asks for the services of the I.R.C., those services will be accorded to it?

Mr. Mason

I would have thought that if the civil aviation authority wished to use the services of the I.R.C., it would certainly do so, but at this stage I do not think it is necessary.

Mr. Corfield

My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Garston (Mr. Fortescue) asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he would confirm that the objective, subject to safety, would be service to the customer. That was the answer required.

Mr. Mason

It has always been recognised that the national corporations, B.E.A. and B.O.A.C, have always set the highest standards of safety in civil aviation; that will continue.

Mr. George Brown

I am a little mixed up. As I am supposed to be flying out from Liverpool Airport tomorrow night, will my right hon. Friend say whether Liverpool Airport will be there tomorrow night?

Mr. Speaker

Order. That was a supplementary question on the last Question.