HC Deb 29 June 1971 vol 820 cc313-4
Mr. Noble

I beg to move Amendment No. 36, in page 44, line 31, leave out 'also'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)

I hope that it will be convenient to take with this Amendment, Amendment No. 37.

Mr. Noble

That would be convenient, Mr. Deputy Speaker. These Amendments have been put down to take account of the removal from the Bill in Committee of former Clause 38 which placed a general duty on the Airways Board to exercise its powers in a manner calculated to secure that the air transport services provided by the group are developed to the best advantage and the resources of the group are used to the best advantage".

Clause 39 puts a duty on the Board to review the organisation of the group's affairs to determine whether it is calculated to secure that the services and resources mentioned in the preceding section are developed and used as there mentioned". The "preceding section" has now been dropped because the Committee took the view that the general duty in former Clause 38 was too imprecise while recognising that a general duty drafted with precision might be exceedingly difficult to operate.

The second Amendment therefore substitutes the words "the most efficient manner" for the words in Clause 39(1)(a) after "in" in line 38. The first Amendment, which deletes "also" from line 31, is consequential on the removal of former Clause 38.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: No. 37, in line 38, leave out from 'in' to end of line 41 and insert 'the most efficient manner'.—[Mr. Noble.]

Mr. Noble

I beg to move Amendment No. 38, in page 45, line 5, after 'section', insert: 'and laying a copy of it before each House of Parliament'. This amends Clause 39(3) in such a way as to establish that, before the Secretary of State can give directions to the Airways Board on the organisation of the group's affairs, he must lay before Parliament a copy of the report that the Board is required by subsection (2) to make on its conclusions arising from the review under subsection (1)(a).

This is no more than a minor change to subsection (3) on which there was a good deal of discussion in Committee. However, it makes explicit the order of events which is implicit in the present text. I think that this will be welcomed.

In commending the Amendment to the House, I should like to say again, as I said in Committee, that it is this Government's intention, as I imagine it would be the intention of any other Government, to be entirely open with the House about the use of their powers under the subsection.

Mr. Millan

It was my impression that this was simply a drafting Amendment. However, when the Minister announces a major change of policy and says that the Government will be entirely open with the House, perhaps it has a wider significance.

I welcome the Amendment. It makes the Clause more explicit and it also makes it clear that hon. Members will have an opportunity of seeing these reports before directions are given by the Secretary of State. That was the point at which I asked the right hon. Gentleman to look, and I am grateful for the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Forward to