HC Deb 26 November 1969 vol 792 cc408-9
17. Mr. Fortescue

asked the President of the Board of Trade what reply he has sent to the Liverpool City Council to its recent request for financial assistance for Liverpool Airport.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

I am still considering the request for financial assistance made by the delegation which called on me on 27th October and amplified in a letter received earlier this month.

Mr. Fortescue

Is the Minister aware that the crying need of this airport is for more traffic? Will he undertake to the House that he will put no obstacles in the way of airlines wishing to use this airport? In particular, would he explain to the House why he found himself unable to accept the application of an American airline which wished to fly in and out of Liverpool?

Mr. Roberts

The hon. Member has mentioned some of the considerations which are present in our minds in considering this application; a few others were added in the letter which we received. I can only assure him that we shall give close attention to all that has been said to us and that we shall send a reply as soon as possible.

Mr. Ronald Atkins

Will not the Minister agree that it is inconsistent for the Government to subsidise this form of rapidly increasing passenger transport when it is their policy not to subsidise other forms of passenger transport which are declining?

Mr. Roberts

I do not think that we can engage in a detailed argument about the propriety of certain policies with regard to various airports and various kinds of service, especially not at Question Time, but I take the point.