§ 7.8 p.m.
§ The Minister for Trade (Mr. Michael Noble)
I beg to move,That the statement on Civil Aviation Policy Guidance given to the Civil Aviation Authority in pursuance of section 3(2) of the Civil Aviation Act 1971 with respect to the performance of its functions, a draft of which was laid before this House on 23rd February, be approved in pursuance of section 3(3) of that Act.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)
I understand that it will be for the convenience of the House if I say that the following four Prayers, which the right hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) has been kind enough to tell me he does not intend to move, are available for debate together with the Motion.
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Civil Aviation (Route Charges for Navigation Services) (Amendment) Regulations 1972 (S.I., 1972, No. 108), dated 3rd February 1972, a copy of which was laid before this House on 11th February, be annulled.
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Civil Aviation (Documentary Evidence) Regulations 1972 (S.I., 1972, No. 187), dated 14th February 1972, a copy of which was laid before this House on 17th February, be annulled.
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Southampton Airport (Designation) (Detention and Sale of Aircraft) Order 1972 (S.I., 1972, No. 189), dated 14th February 1972, a copy of which was laid before this House on 18th February, be annulled.
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Civil Aviation (Navigation Services Charges) (Second Amendment) Regulations 1972 (S.I., 1972, No. 188), dated 14th February 1972, a copy of which was laid before this House on 17th February, be annulled.
§ Mr. Noble
The guidance to the Civil Aviation Authority, which is set out in paragraphs 7 to 29 of the White Paper before us, must speak for itself and I shall resist the temptation to paraphrase it. There are, however, a number of things I should say about the guidance and about the way in which the authority will be tackling its task, and there are certain related matters I should touch upon. I shall also, if I am allowed, say a little about developments which are currently taking place in the evolution of the civil air transport industry. I should also mention that we have laid 121 before the House a number of sets of regulations concerned with the assumption by the Civil Aviation Authority of its full functions. We did this so that the House would have a full picture of how the Civil Aviation Authority will carry out its duties.
I think the House will find that the guidance is not a totally unfamiliar document. In large part it follows quite closely the summary which I gave during the Second Reading of the Civil Aviation Bill on 29th March, 1971, though some of the detail has been filled out. In general, I have been able to meet several of the safeguards asked for during our earlier debates. Some of the newer passages in the guidance are therefore of importance and interest. I am thinking particularly of the very first words, in paragraph 7, which are meant to focus the attention of the Authority firmly on the central question of what civil air transport is all about.
It says very clearly that it exists by serving the public and that the Authority should make it its business to find out what the public want and to take full account of it. This reflects strongly the expressed thought in the Edwards Report that the primary long-term objective should be to see that each consumer—and I would include here each would-be consumer—gets what he wants and not what somebody else thinks he ought to want.
Paragraph 7 of the guidance also makes the very important point that, where there is a choice, the Authority should go for less regulation rather than more. This is something that we have lifted from the White Paper of November, 1969, and I am glad to acknowledge this. It is my great hope that the Authority will succeed in clearing away some of the jungle of detailed regulation which I have found as difficult to penetrate as I am sure the industry and the public find it.
A great deal of this detailed control is necessary, especially for safety, but I am sure some of it could be got rid of to the benefit of all concerned. I think paragraph 22, for example, points out certain directions which might be usefully explored in this regard. Indeed, the Authority will need to make simplifications if only to be able to cope with the massive task we have given it.
122 Paragraph 28 of the guidance is the shortest of all, but none the less important for that. It leaves no room at all for argument. The Authority must go out and consult people, and, reading this together with paragraph 7, one sees that it must clearly consult the users and would-be users of air services. I do not pretend this will be easy—it is difficult to indentify who it is who can speak for air travellers. Some of them have representative bodies but many are unrepresented and their voices can go unheard.
We have not laid down a machinery for this—it will be for the Authority to devise its own machinery so far as this may be necessary and workable. I think the Authority might be wise to feel its way before rushing into any formal arrangements.
Here I should mention one area in which the present consultative arrangements will be changed. With the revocation of a large part of the Civil Aviation (Licensing) Act, I960, the regional civil aviation advisory committees will come to an end. Arrangements have been made for the regional economic planning councils to advise the Authority on regional matters, and they, of course, will cover the whole of the United Kingdom. This too was envisaged in the 1969 White Paper.
Paragraph 29 sets out the financial objective. This was discussed at some length during the Committtee stage of the Bill last year. The guidance gives the Authority the aim of dispensing with support from public funds—from the taxpayer—by 1977–78. We calculate that in its first year of operation the Authority will need some £24 million—possibly a little more—by way of grant. To dispense with this means building up to a position where in five years' time this sum must be recovered annually from the air transport industry, including foreign airlines, in addition to the costs they face at the moment.
Even if we can achieve international agreement, which is necessary for the recovery of the en route navigation service charges, this will be no easy task. Nevertheless, we take the view that the Authority must try. Civil air transport is no longer an infant industry needing the taxpayers' continued support. It is in 123 our view only right that the services the Authority provides should be paid for by those who use or benefit from them.
I have said that the Authority will have a massive task. This will not be made easier by the rapid and far-reaching changes that are now in prospect. This House will be aware, for example, of the great difficulties that have arisen, not only in this country but throughout the world, in trying to achieve the orderly regulation of charter flights.
Abuse has been widespread, and the rules governing affinity group flights have proved to be largely unworkable. The measures I announced on 24th November, 1971, for the more effective enforcement of these rules are beginning to bite, but I do not pretend that the result is yet satisfactory, since both the public and the airlines may suffer when flights are cancelled because abuses by the middlemen are brought to light.
There is therefore a real and urgent need to find a better set of rules which will allow low-priced air travel to be brought more widely within the reach of the public, but in an open and above-board way that the public can rely on. We must get away from the hole-and-corner business of the back streets.
In my statement of 24th November I said that we were looking into the possibility of introducing a new charter facility—the advance charter—which might replace the affinity group rules. Since then we have had extensive discussions, with other Governments, and a great deal of progress has been made in defining rules that would be internationally acceptable. By normal standards this progress has been rapid, but there is still some way to go before we reach the end of the road. The process is not made easier by the need to ensure that the new arrangements do not turn out to be unnecessarily restrictive of bona fide travellers.
I cannot say when the new facility might be introduced, although I still hope that it may prove possible to start this year, at least for certain areas. There is, for example, a particular urgency in respect of traffic between the United Kingdom and Canada, where strict enforcement of the present rules could lead to a severe reduction of traffic.
124 I am also anxious to introduce the new facility as soon as possible to South-East Asia, so that the exemptions can be brought to an end. Until this can be achieved, however, it would be most undesirable to go back to reliance upon the affinity rules alone in this area and it would be wrong to cut off the exempt charter services entirely for this interim period.
I have discussed this problem with the Authority, and the Authority has announced that it will give short bridging exemptions to B.O.A.C. and British Caledonian to continue these services at their present rate until 1st July or for as long as may be necessary thereafter until advance charters can be introduced.
This is an illustration of an area in which the Department and the Authority will need to work closely together if the new charter arrangements are to be brought in quickly and successfully. This co-operation is not the sort of thing which can be provided for in legislation or, to any great extent, in the guidance. It is however, something which I am sure can be achieved in practice and will set the pattern of the relationship between the Authority and the Department for the future.
I mentioned British Caledonian, and I must now say something about route transfers.
§ Mr. Neil Marten (Banbury)
What arrangements is my right hon. Friend making for this Canadian charter work, to which he referred, for the other independents, apart from British Caledonian and B.O.A.C., which are in great difficulty through no fault of their own?
§ Mr. Noble
I wish I could give my hon. Friend an immediate answer. We are at the moment discussing it with the Canadians. In that case, certainly, he is right: there is a very large share of that market taken by other independents. We do not intend to lose this at all willingly.
The Government accepted the view of the Edwards Committee that an initial transfer of routes was necessary to provide the second force airline with a sufficient base to get it going—
§ Mr. Noble
This initial transfer has been completed, and the Government have no intention of transferring any further routes in this way. The powers under which the transfers were affected are revoked as from the end of this month, and British Caledonian must stand on its own feet. What I cannot say, however, is that no route will ever again be transferred from one airline to another. The Authority will have the power to do this, and it may often make good sense for a variety of possible reasons, such as to rationalise the airlines' route network. Paragraph 18 of the guidance sets this out very clearly. This is quite different. It was accepted by the previous Administration in their White Paper, and I do not believe anyone would quarrel with it.
I turn now to aviation security and the events of the last few weeks.
§ Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)
I am slightly lacking in knowledge about this subject, and I apologise to the Minister. Before he leaves paragraph 17 I should like some explanation. It says:The Authority should therefore give preference to British Caledonian Airways when licensing an additional British airline to serve an existing scheduled service route.This seems to be carte blanche for British Caledonian. I am not too au fait with civil aviation problems, so will the Minister develop the point and tell us precisely the extent to which British Caledonian Airways is to have preferential treatment under the guidance notes? As I read them, they seem to give pretty comprehensive preferential treatment.
§ Mr. Noble
I am certain that this point will be raised a number of times during the debate. I appreciate the interest being taken by the hon. Member for Gloucester, West (Mr. Loughlin) in the problem, because it is an important one. We have debated this perhaps four, five or six times and I have continually said that the preference which might be necessary in the early formative days of British Caledonian is to be neither automatic nor complete but must be based on merit. I will not go further into the matter because I am certain it will be developed later and I shall have an opportunity of answering the debate.
§ Mr. Lewis Carter-Jones (Eccles) rose—126
§ Mr. Noble
It will be easier if hon. Members make their points and I try to answer them at the end. That will be easier than five or six hon. Members raising points in a slightly disorderly manner.
I turn now to aviation security and the events of the last few weeks. The Government and all sections of the air transport industry deplore most strongly this latest and most serious case of violence directed at airliners in which innocent passengers and crews have been held to ransom. I do not want to say too much about the counter-measures used in the United Kingdom, but our airlines and the airport authorities, and this will include in the future the Civil Aviation Authority, are closely advised of the Government's assessment of the threat to their operations. We never believed that, the threat had ended, although it may vary from time to time, and appropriate security measures have continued to be maintained particularly during the last few weeks. There is close and continual contact between the Government and the industry within the National Aviation Security Committee, which comprises senior representatives of Government Departments, airlines, airport authorities, the trade unions and the airport security committees which exist at our international airports. Last week there were discussions between Departments and our major airlines about the latest situation.
We have to recognise that there can never be a total guarantee of security, but this is not a cause for despair. Many steps can be taken to protect air transport, and appropriate security measures, consistent with the threat, are being vigorously maintained by our airlines and at our airports.
I commend the guidance to the House. I hope the House will, with me, wish the Civil Aviation Authority, which comes into operation next month, every possible success in the extremely challenging task that it is taking on.
§ 7.26 p.m.
§ Mr. Roy Mason (Barnsley)
I am sure that anyone who takes an interest in civil aviation, no matter on which side of the House, must have been extremely disappointed in the Minister's speech and especially the disgraceful way he skated past the damnable paragraph 17. Suffice it to say at this stage that I shall elaborate on that later.
The White Paper which is giving policy guidance to the Civil Aviation Authority is a most important document, and the guidelines it contains will determine the growth of British civil aviation for many years. The Authority is a unique constitutional public corporation and will be responsible from 1st April for every aspect of civil aviation. Under its vast umbrella it will cater for licensing of routes, price structure, airworthiness certification and so on for both public and private airlines. In other words it is a vast regulatory body which will govern all civil aviation activities. In the matters of air safety, aircraft noise, international traffic routes and pooling arrangements necessitating talks with foreign Governments, the Minister will still be closely involved. But much of what is contained in the guidance document has been debated many times during the proceedings on the Civil Aviation Act.
I will concentrate my remarks, therefore, on the guidance given to the Authority on licensing, to the problem of exempt charters and the priority accorded over all other airlines to the Government's pampered airline, British Caledonian. Only a few weeks ago the Air Transport Licensing Board, which is destined to die in a fortnight, granted routes to British Caledonian on the North Atlantic. In my opinion, it was done with unseemly haste. It was an attempt to get them established before the Authority could take a broader look into the future of route licensing. They were granted in spite of objections from B.O.A.C., Laker Airlines—public and private airlines—and the West Midlands civil aviation advisory committee. They were granted in spite of the preparation of guidance by the new Authority, and they were granted on out-of-date criteria which were certainly not in accord with the guidance given in our White Paper, especially paragraph 33. It was not 128 urgent, but the Minister let it happen. He was prepared to stand idly by. British Caledonian cannot operate the Atlantic routes for at least a year, but he allowed this major decision to be taken. Already it is thwarting the examination which the Civil Aviation Authority can carry out.
Last year 19 airlines operated an average of 173 transatlantic flights. Twenty-four charter carriers also had licences to operate these routes. The airlines' scheduled services lost £112 million, and with the growth of charters the situation is likely to get worse. Therefore, B.O.A.C.'s position is likely to be worsened as a result of the Board's decision.
There are already too many airlines, national flag carriers, competing for too little business on the transatlantic routes. There are far too many airlines and far too many planes chasing far too few passengers. The Minister should not have allowed a transatlantic licence for British Caledonian to be considered by the Air Transport Licensing Board. The decision does not satisfy our criteria or the guidance the right hon. Gentleman gave during the Committee stage of the Civil Aviation Act. Now we know that it flouts the guidance given in paragraphs 11, 12 and 16 of the White Paper, published only a week later. I fail to see how British Caledonian managed to get its licence, because the White Paper says that in granting air transport licences, the Authority should make sure that airlines have opportunity to operate profitably. In the light of the figures I have given on the transatlantic routes, that will not be achieved very quickly. The White Paper also says that new licencesneed to be carefully controlled in order to avoid undue fragmentation of effort".We know that there are already too many flag carriers and charterers on the transatlantic routes. The White Paper says that if a licence is granted, the aggregate share of the total traffic is to be increased to offset the dis-economies—I cannot see how the Board came to its decision in the light of that—and it should increase the total traffic secured by British airlines more rapidly. Those criteria are not satisfied. Therefore, the licence was granted in unseemly haste on flimsy evidence. Coming on top of the hiving 129 off of B.O.A.C.'s routes it is another blow against B.O.A.C.
But there is still time for the Authority to delay the introduction of British Caledonian on the transatlantic routes if it is satisfied that the Authority's criteria are not fully met. Meanwhile, the licence should be put in cold storage until the Authority has made a proper appraisal. The Minister can hold up his agreement, because he has to present the matter to the United States Government, and in turn to the American Civil Aeronautics Board, before the licence is fully approved. For more than two years the Government have been discussing with the Americans the problems of the swamping of the Atlantic routes by American carriers. Pan American Airways recently withdrew from the Chicago-London route as a result of the United Kingdom and United States Governments' discussions on the matter. Therefore, the designation of British Caledonian, another British carrier on the route, goes directly against the Government's policy. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will address himself to those two points when he winds up.
I turn to the question of affinity group rules. Clearer guidance will have to be given to the Authority. The rules are supposed to govern private requirements for air traved—the lawful chartering of an aircraft. The rules briefly are: travel should not be the sole objective of the group concerned; there must be something specific which distinguishes the group from the ordinary travelling public; those travelling must have been members of the group for six months; the group should not exceed 20,000 members; and there should be no advertising outside the group. The right hon. Gentleman knows that those rules are being broken. There is illegal chartering. On some major routes, charters being sold openly to the public account for 50 per cent. of the traffic. The scheduled services cannot profit. They are being placed in jeopardy, and chaos is being caused on some routes. Therefore, these illegal practices must be curbed as quickly as possible.
In this connection the Government have another problem, the exempt charters for which they are responsible. Because the rules were being broken, because the Government became embarrassed at the 130 open advertising with British carriers breaking the International Air Transport Association rules, using European airports when they could not obtain licences from the A.T.L.B., the Government decided to allow British Caledonian to operate a number of flights to the Far East, exempting it from the licensing regulations. They have now given British Caledonian permission for exempt charters on 111 flights. B.O.A.C. has been made a similar offer, but not on that scale. It can now operate a specified number of charter aircraft to the Far East exempt from the licensing regulations up to June of this year. The Government and the Civil Aviation Authority will have to formulate policy on this matter very quickly, for otherwise other foreign flag carriers, members of I.A.T.A. which are feeling aggrieved at this development, will by that method effect a complete breakdown of scheduled services to the Far East and South-East Asian countries. We await with interest the outcome of the right hon. Gentleman's ideas of advanced charters.
I turn now to the more controversial topic of the preference given to British Caledonian in the Government's guidance to the Civil Aviation Authority, and especially that damnable paragraph 17 in the White Paper. The right hon. Gentleman skated over it so quickly that I shall quote most of it. It says:The Authority should bear in mind the need to give British Caledonian Airways adequate opportunities to develop its route network particularly during this airline's formative years. The authority should therefore give preference to British Caledonian Airways when licensing an additional British airline to serve an existing scheduled service route. The Authority should also give British Caledonian Airways a measure of preference over other airlines in allocating licences for new scheduled service routes, and for non-scheduled services where the number or capacity of British airlines need for the time being to be restricted.I can hardly believe it. It is a disgracefully biased diktat to the Civil Aviation Authority:The Authority should bear in mind the need"—of British Caledonian—The Authority should therefore give preference to British Caledonian…a measure of preference over other airlines".This saga of protecting British Caledonian, an airline born out of dishonour and deceit, goes on and on its dishonourable course.
§ Mr. Cranley Onslow (Woking)
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman does not mean to get so worked up. I invite him to complete quoting the paragraph so that there shall be no misunderstanding.
§ Mr. Mason
The paragraph continues:The Authority should however in every case take account also of the considerations in paragraphs 10, 11 and 12above and the effect of its decisions on the development of other air lines; it is not the Government's intention"—I repeat "intention", because the right hon. Gentleman makes statements and then disgracefully turns his back on them time after time as we progress with civil aviation policy—that any preference should be automatic or complete.That completes the paragraph.
When the hiving off of B.O.A.C. and B.E.A. routes took place, an act of barefaced robbery of State assets to prop up a private airline, the right hon. Gentleman said it was to be a once-for-all operation. He said it many times, from the Press conference right through all the stages of the Civil Aviation Bill.
During the Second Reading debate on the Bill, I said:The right hon. Gentleman referred to the statement which he made towards the end of last year when he said that a once-for-all transfer of routes to Caledonian-B.U.A."—as it was then—would be effected and that there would be none after that. I take it from what he said during the course of his opening remarks that that is true, that that will bind the Authority, and that there will be no more transfer of routes from the Corporations to the independent airline.The right hon. Gentleman intervened to say:We have made this point often, but I do not want the right hon. Gentleman to misread anything I have said. I have consistently said that this is a once-for-all operation on this exercise. If the right hon. Gentleman studies the Bill he will see that it is also true that the Civil Aviation Authority may in the future want to rationalise routes at home or overseas and it has this power."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th March, 1971; Vol. 814, c. 1190.]He represented this as a once-for-all operation. He said that the Authority might want to rationalise. He did not say that it "ought to prefer". He did not say that it was to bear in mind any need to mollycoddle British Caledonian. But paragraph 17 is akin to a direct 132 ministerial instruction. It is slanted and biased guidance.
Again, on 27th April last year, in Standing Committee considering the Civil Aviation Bill, the Minister said:There is no question of our imposing upon the Authority a duty to prop up an inefficient, unviable second force. I have said over and over again that having made the necessary essential transfer to get the second force off the ground we must leave it to stand on its own feet."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 27th April, 1971; c. 116.]Stand on its own feet? With paragraph 17 coming, together with a ministerial directive to the Authority? It is more like granting British Caledonian golden wings. Again, on the Report stage of the Bill, the right hon. Gentleman said:It will not be given preference in all circumstances. The Civil Aviation Authority will look at the situation at the time, and, if it is clear that Caledonian/B.U.A."—as it was then called—and any other airlines are equal on merit, then perhaps preference ought to be given to the second force airline."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th June, 1971, Vol. 820, c. 210.]In this White Paper, preference is clearly given. Where is the test of equality of merit? Where is that in the White Paper?
I think that the right hon. Gentleman, in view of what is now said in paragraph 17 of the White Paper, has clearly misled the House. The Government are hellbent on a course designed to cripple the corporations. The confiscation of the West African routes from B.O.A.C. has cost it £5½ million in revenue and £1½ million in operating profit. The loss of the Tripoli route cost it another £600,000. The removal of restrictions on British Caledonian's first-class traffic on the African routes will affect B.O.A.C.'s revenue to the extent of £270,000 a year. Permission to grant British Caledonian 111 exempt charter flights to South-East Asia has diverted traffic from B.O.A.C. worth £l¼ million a year. The loss to B.E.A. on the London-Paris route because of British Caledonian's appearance—hiving off—has already cost B.E.A. £500,000, and the estimate for 1972–73 is nearly £2 million. The granting of the North Atlantic routes to British Caledonian, in advance of this policy White Paper, will cost B.O.A.C. £11 million over the next five years. The Government's failure to enforce regulations in respect of affinity group charters has cost 133 B.O.A.C. between £2 million and £3 million.
Therefore, B.O.A.C. alone has lost so far, through Government directives, through hiving off and through failure to protect it from illegal charters, about £12 million. It expects further losses because of British Caledonian's preferential treatment in the White Paper. B.O.A.C. is in need of at least £9 million compensation from the Government, and so far it has not been offered a penny. It is almost as if the right hon. Gentleman is creating a "lame duck" out of a profitable State enterprise.
I believe this to be the most monstrous and disgraceful episode of the Government. They have no qualms about pilfering the public purse. They confiscate a public corporation's assets and offer no compensation and then dishonestly plough on to prop up a private airline.
I warn once again the Government, the House and British Caledonian in particular that this policy will be reversed. The confiscated routes will be returned to the corporations and the bias in this aviation policy will be removed. While condemning the Government for this aspect of their aviation policy—reminding the right hon. Gentleman once and for all about the turn-round that is revealed in the White Paper—I ask him, the arch-villain of this policy, noble by name, to examine his conscience and realise how far ignobility has crept in.
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg (Hampstead)
The right hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) said that this was the most disgraceful policy that the Government had ever put before the House. Less than 20 hon. Members opposite seem to think that there is any justification in his case. If one removes from his speech his continuing and monotonous bitterness against British Caledonian, not much of it remains except a few dubious statistical calculations. He must learn that British Caledonian is here to stay by demand of the travelling public, not just by demand of politicians.
134 I believe that the guidance paper indicates a trio of objectives. It shows clearly that the State corporations have their position confirmed, that British Caledonian has its special position recognised and that the private sector is acknowledged to have a continuing future. I would have thought that these objectives would commend themselves to all sensible Members, certainly to hon. Members who do not go about blinkered by party political prejudice.
§ Mr. Russell Kerr
On a point of order. As far as I know this is the maiden contribution by the hon. Member for Hampstead (Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg) to aviation debates, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Can we know whether he has any financial interest to declare?
§ Mr. Finsberg
I do not have one to declare. I make my speeches standing, unlike the hon. Member for Feltham (Mr. Russell Kerr).
I believe that the White Paper is a start, but I do not believe that it is sufficient. I want to ask more about the new Civil Aviation Authority. What part is it to play in all this? Ought it to model itself more on the lines of the American Civil Aeronautics Board? Should it actively initiate air transport policies? Ought it to carry out a substantial programme of economic research so that it can take an independent and authoritative view of economic matters? So far, this has never been done in this country.
The Air Transport Licensing Board, with almost no staff, has virtually been a court of first appeal, which in many cases has been overturned by more than one Government. It has never done a proper job. Ought not the new Authority to ensure a much fuller presentation and a much fuller publication of data on which it is possible to judge licence applications and to raise professional standards?
Something else that the new Authority could also do, with a sound knowledge of the air transport system, is to become a major contributor to the international air transport policies that should be followed by the United Kingdom. It should be an initiator and not always a follower. 135 That concept may not have been recognised as possible in the past.
Of one thing I am certain; the appointment of my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter), gives encouragement to those of us who know him as a thinker and a doer. He will be no tame creature of any Government, and he will not allow his Authority to be dictated to by any Government.
But he has a responsibility and the C.A.A. has a responsibility, a responsibility to make itself what the A.T.L.B. never was and never could be—a useful forward-thinking organisation, of help to British civil aviation. If that is its job, I am certain that, like the stupid threats by the Labour Party to repeal the Act setting up commercial television, the nonsense spoken by the right hon. Member for Barnsley will pass down in history as one of the many pledges by the Labour Party which were never redeemed.
§ 7.52 p.m.
§ Mr. Russell Kerr (Feltham)
I begin by offering my congratulations to the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) on his appointment as Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority. As most of us know, he is not inexperienced in civil aviation, having been a Minister of Aviation. On this side of the House we look to him, by his qualities of fair-mindedness and clear thinking, to put right some of the worst provisions of the Civil Aviation Act and the guidance issued under it. We are not at all displeased by his appointment.
I begin the rather less happy part of my remarks by saying that, having read the so-called guidance that is being offered to the industry, the House and the public, I greatly regret that it is not possible to put the Minister in the dock for grand larceny. The guidance contains such an opening of the flood gates in favour of the righthon. Gentleman's political pals and financial backers—presumably going back to the last election and before—that no less a description would fit the facts. I am speaking of the right hon. Gentleman in his ministerial capacity rather than in his rather pleasant personal capacity.
I take the House back to an event which my hon. Friend the Member for 136 Nuneaton (Mr. Leslie Huckfield) and I were privileged to witness, on 2nd August, 1970, shortly after the Government came to power. Sensing that something might be being "tried on", my hon. Friend and I decided that it was worth going across the way to the Press conference which the right hon. Gentleman had called at short notice in the premises of the Board of Trade. I speak for my hon. Friend as well as myself when I say that we were very pleased that we went.
Under persistent questioning from the 40 or 50 reporters present, time and again the right hon. Gentleman stated that this was a once-for-all operation. He repeated the assurance in the House some time later. Like Peter before him, he made the denial thrice. He made the statement that this was a once-for-all operation, that Caledonian would have to stand on its own feet, and so on—ad nauseam, as I now think. In his anxiety to repay political debts, the right hon. Gentleman was prepared gravely to mislead the Press and shortly afterwards in a similar fashion to mislead this honourable House. Subsequent to the announcement, he repeated in specific terms the assurance that this was a once-for-all operation.
I should like to read the opening sentence of the nefarious paragraph 17 of the guidance, for it cannot be repeated too often. It says:The Authority should bear in mind the need to give British Caledonian Airways adequate opportunities to develop its route network particularly during this airline's formative years.The two sentences that follow nail the lie:The Authority should therefore give preference to British Caledonian Airways when licensing an additional British airline to serve an existing scheduled service route. The Authority should also give British Caledonian Airways a measure of preference over other airlines in allocating licences for new scheduled service routes, and for non-scheduled services where the number or capacity of British airlines need for the time being to be restricted.I make no apology for reading that, because in the light of the subsequent announcement it is a revealing and nefarious part of the document. It makes a nonsense of the Minister's promise that Caledonian would receive no unjustified preference in its operations. In fact, the direct opposite is the truth and provisions 137 in the document and the Act are designed precisely to give wholly unjustifiable preference to this so-called second force airline at the expense of the two public corporations and the British public, particularly the British travelling public.
Some may say that at the time the undertakings were given, and the promise was made, the financial situation of British Caledonian was not known, that the Minister could not know that the friends of Caledonian in the City, and elsewhere, were far more interested in fast bucks than in developing the potential of a private airline over many years, as B.O.A.C. and many other airlines have had to do and have done, to the great benefit of the British taxpaper and the British public generally.
To that we reply—and we have done so before tonight—that when this public "steal" was first mooted many warnings were given by people in the industry that the international air industry was entering upon difficult times. There were two main reasons. First, there had been, and there has continued to be, a flattening out of the growth curves and a fall in the average percentage payload of most, if not all, international airlines. Secondly, there was the ever-increasing cost of equipment, coupled with an increasing rate of obsolescence, as competition became more fierce and as charter operations, in defiance of the group affinity rules of I.A.T.A., became more widespread. These pressures, which have gone on ever since, were bringing the whole apparatus of scheduled airline operations into jeopardy.
We warned the Minister that all that glittered was not gold and that Caledonian's largely anonymous backers had not come forward with the financial backing in the quantities hoped for and, from reports in the industry, it seems that they still have not done so. From what one knows and learns about the present problems, they are not likely to do so.
There is no great mystery about why this has happened. In spite of the taunts of the hon. Member for Hampstead (Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg), the Labour Party is firmly determined that people who lend themselves to this larceny on a grand scale should not benefit, if we can do anything about it. I say in passing that, like my right hon. Friend the Member 138 for Barnsley (Mr. Mason), I was truly horrified by the recent decision of the A.T.L.B., as a final act of grace, or disgrace, to award these transatlantic routes to Caledonian at a time when B.O.A.C, the national flag carrier, like most if not all other international operators of the transatlantic route, had found itself in increasing difficulties with pay-loads and many other problems by no means easy of solution.
That seemed to us, then as now, to be a very cynical disregard of the problems that this industry faces and will continue to face for a considerable time. Hon. Members should make no mistake; there will be a swift re-nationalisation of these stolen routes as soon as the present Government reach the day of reckoning and a Labour Government return to power.
As is fairly well known, over two decades and more, the British airline industry has been largely based upon the impressive performance of the twin pillars, B.O.A.C. and B.E.A.—both leaders in their respective fields of air operation and, as one person said recently, jewels in the industrial crown of this country. They are achievements of which the British nation, whose money has gone to develop these airlines, can justly be proud. In terms of simple justice, we believe that there can be no question of treating as an equal a Johnny-come-lately airline, or a consortium, such as British Caledonian Airlines with the airlines which have borne the heat and burden of the day over more than two decades and have greatly benefited this country, its taxpayers, sucessive Chancellors of the Exchequer, and especially the travelling public.
Therefore, we feel strongly that this attempt to take from the people of this country that which is theirs and which has been built up by many years' sweat and hard work, and intelligent application of techniques of running an airline successfully, must be stopped at all costs.
As one of the airport Members of the House, I add my plea on behalf of the workers in the industry. The morale of workers at London Airport has been a byword in the industry for many years. Despite the many difficulties of international airline operation, they have shown a willingness to adapt and to contribute greatly to the morale of their respective corporations which is second 139 to none throughout the international airline business. It is not right to leave unsaid that they feel that these measures to steal that which they have helped to build over the years cannot possibly be justified. Along with my hon. Friends, I enter the strongest possible protest on their behalf, coupled with the promise that we shall put things right as soon as the voters of Britain allow us to do so.
§ 8.3 p.m.
§ Mr. Cranley Onslow (Woking)
The hon. Member for Feltham (Mr. Russell Kerr) is consistent in every speech he makes. They are all equally wrong-headed, misinformed and doctrinaire. I congratulate him on sticking to his usual pattern. This is a sad occasion for him, and we can understand why he feels bitterly about it. It is a bit like the funeral of an old friend. After tonight, he will be unable to make that kind of speech because the business of running the civil aviation industry of Britain will be devolved by the House to the Civil Aviation Authority.
I suppose the hon. Gentleman had to render his speech once more with feeling; but never again. It is done now, and we can discuss more serious things such as the speeches of the right hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason). One cannot exactly congratulate the right hon. Gentleman for consistency, as I hope I can show by a few quotations from HANSARD.
A couple of years ago, almost to the day, the right hon. Member for Barnsley was standing where my right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade stood when he opened the debate. The right hon. Member for Barnsley was telling us a number of things about the then Government's policy and his understanding of what was and what was not a good thing for British civil aviation. In HANSARD for 18th March, 1970, I find the following specific and clear statement:We think that the best national advantage would flow from an amalgamation"—that is to say, of two independent airlines—that would result in an independent airline strong enough to compete on the North Atlantic.He seems to have changed his views since then. Again, in the same speech, he was 140 not only encouraging the A.T.L.B. to be independent but also saying, about the North Atlantic licence application, which had been refused by the A.T.L.B.The A.T.L.B. did, however, give a very broad hint that if a stronger application was presented by a combination of airlines it might be granted."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th March, 1970; Vol. 798, c. 435.]I know that the right hon. Gentleman feels that he has to say these things and make these grand statements about things that will not happen because a Labour Government will not return to power, but he might do himself the favour of reading his own past speeches.
§ Mr. Mason
Surely the hon. Gentleman is not suggesting that there is any difference in what I have said now and then. That was two to three years ago, long before the Civil Aviation Authority guidelines had been prepared, two to three years away from the date when the C.A.A. was to be established. My charge tonight is that the A.T.L.B. has taken a major decision one week before the Authority's guidance came out, not two to three years ago.
§ Mr. Onslow
The right hon. Gentleman must not suppose that I quote his speeches because I like their deathless prose or because I want to show him how consistent he has been. My purpose in quoting his speeches is to prove that he has been standing on his head, which he has. Two years ago he envisaged the independents providing stronger competition, and winning a greater share of business for British carriers on world routes. It is very foolish of him this evening to enter the childish and unfounded complaints we have heard, which only expose him to the charge of political opportunism.
§ Mr. Onslow
No, I will let the right hon. Gentleman clear it up later; no doubt he will find an occasion some time within the next four or five years.
Turning to more serious matters, and leaving the fact that the right hon. Member for Barnsley has been standing on his head, I want to consider the guidance before the House, and commend it to my right hon. Friend the Member for 141 Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter), who will have the task of interpreting what it says and putting it into practice—first, as my right hon. Friend the Minister would agree, this is not a document which will please everybody. There is probably something in it which pleases most people, but probably also a little here and there with which many will quarrel, for different reasons. But everything obviously depends on how the words of the document are interpreted in practice.
The country is extremely fortunate to have a head of the C.A.A. of the calibre of my right hon. Friend, in whom it can place such confidence. British aviation could not have had a better man to act as the head of the C.A.A. I say that with all the more conviction because I know that my right hon. Friend is very skilled in making things mean what they ought to mean. I can point out one or two instances of where this may be necessary.
Taking paragraph 7 first, the injunction is there laid on the Authority to inform itself of the public's needs. I understand that the A.T.L.B. used to get informed of the public's needs to the tune of not less than four but not more than 15 letters a year from the British public. That may not have been a perfect method of finding out of what the public was thinking. I hope that the Authority will be much more positive, that it will go out and find out what the public wants, rather than simply sit back and satisfy itself in some modest way that it is giving the public what it thinks the public needs. Section 3(1)(a) of the Act says that the Authority is charged with catering for all substantial categories of public demand, and I am sure my right hon. Friend will have taken due note of what the Act says as well as what the policy document says.
Coming to paragraph 11 of the policy document, as many of us know well there is a good deal of unease on the part of the other independents about the situation in which they will find themselves under the Authority, and they have, I think wrongly—just as hon. Members opposite have wrongly—fastened on paragraph 17 as being the one which matters most when it comes to their future ability to win new business. I take paragraph 11 as the most important and over-riding paragraph. 142 I hope very much that my right hon Friend the Minister will confirm that this is the main injunction to the Authority, that, so far as possible, efficient British airlines shall have the opportunity to operate profitably, and that there is no question of automatically and completely giving preference to British Caledonian Airways. I am glad that paragraph 17 ends by stating that such an intention does not exist.
Paragraph 20 mentions the question of aerodromes. Here the guidance is less specific than the Act. Section 33 of the Act lays a much more positive duty on the Authority about what it is to do in relation to aerodrome research and the establishing of the requirement for new aerodromes. I hope that my right hon. Friend will remember that the Act contains a slightly stronger injunction in this respect than the guidance appears to envisage.
I am uneasy to see in paragraph 22 an instruction to the Authorityto have regard to the need to restrain increases in charges for domestic air serviceswhen the British Airports Authority, with which the Civil Aviation Authority will work in harness, appears to have no such injunction laid on it. There is a contradiction here, and I hope that my right hon. Friend will find a way of clearing it up, even if the financial duties laid on the B.A.A. have to be altered. It seems to some of us that an unjustifiable burden is being passed on to the industry through the medium of increased B.A.A. charges, and, apart from the fact that this does not give the B.A.A. the necessary stimulus to be economic in its operation, British airlines find themselves having to compete at a disadvantage with overseas operators.
I am not sure that paragraph 25 gives the positive incentive to stimulate quietness in airline operations which the Authority should be seeking to apply. There is in this paragraph a passive rather than an active approach to noise reduction. I hope that in practice the stimulus which comes from the Authority will be such as to make it clear to operators that they will get financial benefit from making their operations quieter and. thus, more acceptable to the community. Unless that stimulus exists, we shall not have quiet engines in general service.
143 The task which falls to the new Chairman of the Authority is important. We have confidence in his ability to discharge it and in the experience and skill of those who are to join him on the board of the Authority. I am sure that in 12 months, when we have the opportunity of studying the first report on the discharge of the duties of the C.A.A.; we shall find that a great many of the fears and anxieties which have been expressed in this and preceding debates will have turned out to be unreal and that the sensible and practical way in which the Act has worked will prove, even to the satisfaction of the right hon. Member for Barnsley, that British civil aviation is on a sound footing at last and that we can forget about the stupid, doctrinaire wrangling which has bedevilled it for so long.
§ 8.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Dan Jones (Burnley)
I agree with the hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Onslow) only in his kind and truthful references to the new Chairman of the Authority, the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter).
I support the observations of my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason). It is not we on this side of the House who are guilty of what the hon. Member for Woking terms foolish prejudices. We have made no attack on privately-owned enterprises, particularly those which have been successful. The publicly-owned industries are a success, but that success is being eroded by private enterprise. If there is prejudice, it comes from that side of the coin and not from the side referred to by the hon. Member for Woking.
I appeal to the Minister to defer implementing the White Paper until the new Authority has got going. The new Chairman of the Authority is known to and respected by the House. He would not give undue preference to a publicly-owned industry. If the Minister can have confidence in anybody, he can have it in the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames. I certainly have confidence in him. But it is most unfair that we should all pay tribute to the right hon. Gentleman and then proceed to tie his hands by the White Paper. This is not good sense. If the gentleman concerned was the type of broad legislator with the type of intelligence 144 and experience to which reference has been made, I should be prepared to subscribe to that thinking. But we should allow the right hon. Gentleman latitude to determine the ways and means of the Authority without putting every dot and comma in place.
I wish to refer to paragraphs 9, 16 and the now rather infamous paragraph 17 of the guidance. Paragraph 9 reads:In providing air traffic and navigation services the Authority should have due regard to the interests of both military and civil users, including general aviation interests, so as to make safe, efficient and economical use of the limited air space that is available".I do not quarrel with that. To allow the privately-owned British Caledonian Airways to operate on the North Atlantic route is precisely the opposite of what that phrase is intended to convey. If the air space is limited, why have it used by new operators? I do not know why the Minister should smile at that.
§ Mr. Jones
I do not suggest that at all. I am quoting the language used in the paragraph, which is clear—use of the limited air space that is available".We are talking in present terms. If the Minister says that there are possibilities for development, all I can say is that he is not aware of contemporary developments. T.W.A. and Pan Am have recently made an agreement with B.O.A.C. to limit the services on the North Atlantic route simply because the existing services are uneconomic. Surely the Minister is aware of that. If the existing services are uneconomic, how can additional services make the situation any different?
Paragraph 16 says that the Authority should be satisfied:(a) the traffic is likely to be sufficient to support competing services profitably within a reasonable time.This statement is surely contradictory to recent events and is a matter upon which the incoming Chairman of the Authority should be allowed to adjudicate. It is most unfair and almost offensive to the new Chairman to instruct him in the way that the White Paper does. I appeal to 145 the Minister to look again at these broad principles and, if he has confidence in the Chairman, give him and the Authority the opportunity to make these decisions for themselves.
The words of paragraph 17 seem to be unfair to B.O.A.C. The paragraph says that British Caledonian is to be given preference over existing operators, but we know full well that the existing operators are hard put to it to make a financial success of these routes.
The Minister referred to the route to and from Canada, which is the North Atlantic route. He must know that his references to that route fit in ill with certain passages in the White Paper. Harsh references have been made to the Minister and what are described as his friends in private industry. Here there is an element of commercial brigandage, taking from a publicly-owned industry routes which it has developed over the years and for which it has earned a good repute in world aviation circles. This Government more than any post-war Government are demanding that publicly-owned industries should make a profit. I do not object to that, but I do object when stipulations are laid upon publicly-owned industries which those industries cannot carry out because of handicaps which are placed upon them. I am reminded that in the early 1950s a Conservative Government took away from the publicly-owned transport industry all the lucrative parts of rural transport and left the publicly-owned industry with the remnants and criticised it bitterly for not making it pay.
I appeal to the Government to allow the eminently suitable Chairman to guide the Authority without tying him hand and foot before he has a chance to do the job.
§ 8.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson (Walthamstow, East)
Although I welcomed the setting up of the Civil Aviation Authority in the debate last year, I have mixed feelings about the Civil Aviation Policy Guidance White Paper. No doubt if a new Authority is being set up to control civil aviation for the foreseeable future, it needs, like any other new piece of machinery, a set of instructions, but I agree with some of the remarks of the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Dan Jones) who perhaps 146 feels as I do that the White Paper attempts to lay down too rigid guidelines for the new Authority. A new Authority must have flexibility if it is to discover its true level and to be effective in the job for which it has been appointed. I wonder whether we are wise to cross the "Ts" and dot the "Is" ahead of letting the Authority do that in operation. I would rather we had left the Chairman of the new Authority to evolve the best method of operation. I can, however, see the case for an instruction book for a new piece of machinery, and no doubt the Chairman will be allowed a great measure of flexibility in the way that he carries out his task.
§ Mr. F. A. Burden (Gillingham)
My hon. Friend will no doubt recall the difficulties of the Air Transport Licensing Board. There was a right of appeal from decisions of the A.T.L.B. and on several occasions its decisions were overturned. I hope that the Minister will not impose a similar control over the activities of the new board.
§ Mr. McNair-Wilson
I am grateful for my hon. Friend's intervention. He underlines the point that I was making.
I welcome paragraph 7 and its bold statement that civil air transport exists by serving the public—a point that was reinforced by my right hon. Friend in his opening speech. But from then on the paragraph seems to qualify the meaning of civil air transport until it becomes clear that B.O.A.C, B.E.A. and British Caledonian have the prime if not the sole place in this meaning.
Here I am, in the slightly odd position of supporting the stance of the right hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) if not his philosophy. I have received, as no doubt have other hon. Members, a fairly extensive memorandum from several independent airlines—Britannia Airways, Court Line Aviation, Dan-Air Services, Laker Airways, Lloyd International, Transmeridian Air Carriage, and Donaldson International Airways. In that memorandum these independent airlines point out that between them they deploy a fleet of 83 aircraft worth £72.5 million, which carry 4.7 million passengers and a substantial amount of cargo every year, yet in paragraph 15 of the White Paper they see themselves discriminated against in favour of British Caledonian, 147 B.O.A.C. and B.E.A. The White Paper argues that these three airlines should be given adequate opportunities to compete effectively in the world civil air transport market. In view of this statement it is small wonder that the airlines in their memorandum say:The Minister for Trade is already implementing successfully a policy of severe discrimination against the independent airlines operating charter services which may soon result in further airlines ceasing to trade.They end by saying:One large independent airline competing against the State Corporations on its own does not constitute true free enterprise competition.I agree with that statement and believe in competition because of the better service that comes with it. Even if some of the wording in their memorandum is unduly strong, I sympathise with those airlines and it is up to us to ask ourselves what philosophy underlies our civil aviation policy. If it is that we believe in more competition and greater service to the public, I do not see how we are to achieve this by giving quite so much to one airline in the shape of British Caledonian at the expense of the airlines that I have listed.
I must also take some exception to the contentious paragraph 17. It is difficult to see why the Authority should be instructed to give preference. That seems to take away from the Authority its right to decide what is best in the circumstances at a particular moment of time. It is instructed to give preference to British Caledonian when licensing an additional British airline to serve an existing scheduled service route. By the same token the Authority is advised to give British Caledonian a measure of preference over other airlines in allocating licences for new scheduled service routes and for non-scheduled services.
My right hon. Friend has reminded us that we should qualify paragraph 17 with paragraph 10 but, apart from feeling that paragraph 17 has little to do with a competitive economy in civil aviation, I do not see how one can square those two paragraphs. Either it is an instruction that suggests that it is an injunction to the Civil Aviation Authority, or there is a measure of freedom of decision which should be stated but with which the word 148 "instruction" does not seem to me to tally.
I suspect that the air corporations still feel that there is an ideological opposition to them in the Conservative Party. This is unfortunate, but I can understand some of their ill-feeling and frustration, particularly after some of their route structures were taken away—even though they were told that this would happen—to set up a second force airline. Since the Lagos route has gone to British Caledonian, I wonder what will happen if Concorde operated by B.O.A.C. goes on the South African route and has to stop at Lagos. In that event there will be quite a kerfuffle over route structures in West Africa.
However, I believe it is reasonable to recognise the grievance felt by B.O.A.C. about what has been done to its network. I have had some experience of its route structures and I believe its service is admirable. Furthermore, it has built up the structures with much hard work and competence. Therefore, I can understand how that corporation must have felt to be told that part of its routes were to be taken away and given to a new airline. Much as I like and admire those who run British Caledonian, and I wish them well, I cannot forget that B.O.A.C. and B.E.A. are the taxpayers' property. We must not let the Civil Aviation Authority accede to further route changes in respect of British Caledonian if, by so doing, it puts at risk the profit-making capability of B.O.A.C. or B.E.A. I take comfort from my right hon. Friend's assurance that there will be no route transfers as such, but paragraph 18 reveals a loophole and I hope that it will not be allowed to develop.
I now turn to paragraph 25 and I question its exact meaning. As I understand it, the Authority will not be the arbiter of aircraft noise levels but will act merely as an advisory authority to the Government. Will this, in effect, mean that the Authority will tell the Government what noise levels should be laid down, but will not have the power itself to lay down levels without ministerial approval? No doubt this is a technical nicety, but I do not want the Authority to be either Ministry-or Government-dominated.
The Authority should be what its title implies—the Civil Aviation Authority of 149 the United Kingdom—and it should continually be heedful of the second half of the first sentence in paragraph 7.the Authority should inform itself of the public's needs and take full account of them.In other words, I want the Civil Aviation Authority to stand on its own feet as an aviation authority, acting on behalf of the public rather than as a servant of either the Government or of the airlines. Thus, in terms of aircraft noise, I hope that it will press on the Government and the airlines the possibilities that exist for improving the noise limitation procedures over and above what has already been done.
§ 8.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Brynmor John (Pontyprydd)
As hon. Members who were on the Committee will know, I spent some time trying to clarify the criteria we should apply to regional air services. It seems to me that whilst many hon. Members have spoken of the necessity for air services to have a regional rôle, very few have got down to establishing the criteria for enabling a rôle to be played, or have said exactly what rôle is envisaged for such regional services.
Therefore, in welcoming to the chairmanship of the Authority the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) I appeal to him in advance to consider as one of his tasks when he takes up his office the examination of the whole question of regional air services, and making sure that the policy framework laid down is coherent and comprehensive so that civil aviation can be developed throughout the whole of the British Isles on clearly understood principles in order to serve a purpose and not be, so to speak, merely social ambulances, as some unfortunately are at the moment.
Paragraphs 20 and 21 of the White Paper do not seem to me to fulfil the undertakings or promises given in Committee by the Minister, but the guidance document has the advantage that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames is at least left without any biased guidance. He is left with a free hand to deal with regional air services, and I hope that he and his Authority will look carefully at that aspect.
150 One of the most blurred problems is how we are to pay for such regional air services. We considered whether we should cross-subsidise routes or whether the Government, having determined that a route should be maintained for social services, should bear the responsibility. In this respect we find a little guidance in paragraph 22, which says:This does not for example preclude the cross-subsidisation of the new services…".I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will also look closely at the revenue side of regional air services, and establish criteria which are easily understood and will be workable for a future regional air pattern.
Having said that, I return to paragraphs 11, 12, 17, and so on. It seems to me that in laying down this guidance the Minister has gone behind promises he has made specifically several times regarding these routes. I have just said that when dealing with regional air services the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames has an open book; that he is at least equally free to choose any measure he thinks to be of advantage. In view of the encomiums rightly heaped upon the right hon. Gentleman from all sides of the House, I find it surprising that hon. Members opposite have so little faith in his judgment and skill at administering the Authority that the guidance that he is being given is so heavily biased in favour of one airway.
I had some sympathy for the hon. Member for Walthamstow, East (Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson), who spoke of the other independent airlines. The secret is that the system which the right hon. Gentleman is setting up is not one of free enterprise or of true competition as the hon. Gentleman knows it. It is the opposition of a State monopoly and a private one. He recognises that the present British Caledonian set-up is not free enterprise, and he laments it. I say the opposite. Having recognised it as not being free enterprise and, therefore, not having fulfilled the criteria which hon. Members opposite like to commend so heartily to the British public in their election addresses, that is every reason for saying that private enterprise in this area has been regarded as unworkable, and, therefore, it is a matter to be regarded as administered by State airlines.
151 The first sentence of paragraph 17 deals with adequate opportunities for British Caledonian to develop its route network, particularly during the airline's formative years, but not, despite what the Minister said, exclusively in its first years. Unless this wording is amended, the Civil Aviation Authority will have to bear in mind the need for British Caledonian to have adequate opportunities to develop its route network throughout its career, however long it may be. I suggest that that is a contradiction of what the right hon. Gentleman said—[Interruption.] Apparently he does not agree, but we know that his reading of documents is not quite the same as that of other hon. Members. The words used in paragraph 17 are:particularly during this airline's formative years.It follows logically that it does not mean exclusively. I ask the hon. Gentleman, even on the basis of his own case, to look at this aspect to see whether it should not be more tightly drawn.
Paragraph 17 speaks of licensing an additional British airline and of giving preference to British Caledonian Airways. They have been given preference between Gatwick and New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. How does the A.T.L.B. decision square with the guidance in paragraph 16(a) that the traffic is likely to be sufficient to support competing services profitably within a reasonable time? The major U.S. airlines are dropping out of these routes because they believe that they are over-serviced. Clearly, it cannot satisfy paragraph 16(a). Equally clearly, it cannot satisfy paragraph 16(c), that the aggregate share of total traffic that is secured by the British airlines is likely to be increased to an extent that will then offset any lasting diseconomies.
Clearly this will not work in the forseeable future. I ask the Minister to deal with paragraph 16 as it affects the A.T.L.B.'s decision to give these routes to British Caledonian. I ask him also to deal with the point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) that, as he has some authority still over this decision, he should allow the Civil Aviation Authority to look at the whole matter before he 152 refers it to the American Civil Aeronautics Board for its approval.
When the right hon. Gentleman spoke about the airline standing on its own feet, he could not have read paragraph 17. What it means, if anything, is that, according to the guidance given to the Civil Aviation Authority, British Caledonian must be kept going however lame it is and even when it becomes a completely lame duck. The show was given away by the hon. Member for Hampstead (Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg), who said that it is all right for starters but that it is not sufficient to be going on with. The Government must make that clear. We have had two or three once-for-all operations now. I do not think that the British public will be endeared indefinitely by the sight of the right hon. Gentleman saying at the Dispatch Box that this latest gift to British Caledonian is a once-for-all operation. We must know whether the intention is that British Caledonian Airways should stand on its own feet as an operator and that, if it fails, the Civil Aviation Authority will not be expected, by the biased nature of the terms of paragraph 17, to continue it in perpetuity by hiving-off to it routes which were formerly held by State airlines.
I understand that British Caledonian Airways has written to some hon. Members saying that it really wants the Civil Aviation Authority to get on with its job untrammelled and that it will abide by the consequences. If so, the Minister for Trade ought to re-write paragraph 17 and take British Caledonian Airways at its word. We would then feel a great deal happier. As it is, he has perpetuated a bias not in favour of the free enterprise system but in preference for one favoured son. That is not the free enterprise system. If so, I hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends, who will be responsible for this subject in the next Government, will clearly state that only the State airlines ought to be allowed to operate and that they will take back these routes from British Caledonian Airways.
§ 8.46 p.m.
§ Mr. Kenneth Warren (Hastings)
First, I want to refer to Statutory Instrument 1972, No. 108, which is concerned with the recovery of route navigation facilities charges. The development of the need to recover money expended on these charges is a welcome change from burdening the 153 taxpayer with the job of paying for facilities which he does not use unlesss he is a passenger in a civil aircraft.
B.O.A.C. has stated that whereas in 1970–71 it paid £650,000 for this type of service, within three years it anticipates paying well over £2 million. Landing charges are already recovered through passenger tickets. I hope that my right hon. Friend will encourage the British Airways Board to press very hard, through I.A.T.A., for the implementation of this international route charge. This charge, which has not been accepted universally, is really the way by which this money should be recovered.
I draw attention to the fact that the major demand for and the load on new air traffic control facilities over the next 10 years will come, primarily, not from scheduled passenger aircraft but from business jets. At the moment there are 1,200 on order or on option in the western world, of which 900 will be made in Western Europe. That represents a vast extra demand on air traffic control services, not only in Europe. I had a note the other day about the development of the new Lagos Airport, on which £3 million is to be spent by the Nigerian Government on new air traffic control facilities. The problem is international. Therefore, the recovery ought to be international, through I.A.T.A.
Secondly, I should like to mention the independent airlines referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow, East (Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson). He referred to the seven United Kingdom airlines and the 83 aircraft which they represent.
I ask my right hon. Friend to consider yet again paragraph 17 of the Civil Aviation Policy Guidance, which states:The Authority should also give British Caledonian Airways a measure of preference over other airlines in allocating licences for new scheduled service routes".The phrase "over other airlines", appeals to bothsides of the House, because it is over British Airways Board airlines as well as over the other independents. That is a rather unfortunate directive with which to lumber the Authority before it even gets down to business. The real problem is that neither paragraph 17 nor paragraph 15 recognises that civil air transportation is a growth industry on a substantial scale.
154 I now turn to the subject of charters. I do not approve of the Department of Trade and Industry's airport guerrilla warfare against the independents. The sad thing about it is that the airlines to which my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow, East referred have said privately that they find that they have only about another six months to live if this persecution goes on. It may be an acceptable political dogma to hon. Gentlemen opposite to know that the independents will be forced out of business, but the tragedy is that the business will not automatically go to either British Caledonian—the favoured independent carrier—or to British Airways Board airlines.
It is already clearly evident that it will go to United States independent carriers—and that will be a great tragedy. While my right hon. Friend has to grapple with the problem of how to cope with affinity charters—an abuse that has been going on world-wide—the British carriers will be the ones to suffer. British independent carrier airlines are among the least guilty in the world, and it is rather a shame that we should allow our own officialdom to strangle this part of a growth industry.
Turning to the North Atlantic, it is a little difficult to reconcile what the right hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) said today with what he said on 18th March, 1970:our independent airlines are a national asset."—[Official Report, 18th March, 1970: Vol. 798, c. 435.]The right hon. Gentleman referred to the fact that the airlines on the North Atlantic route had lost about £112 million. The problem is that over the years all the scheduled carriers who are members of I.A.T.A. have tended to be less and less responsive to the market which they are supposed to serve. They have failed to recognise that there is a decreasing international demand for scheduled high-frequency services but a considerably growing demand for services which offer the cheapest possible fares to the furthest distance that can be marketed.
This growth of North Atlantic passenger traffic which has occurred over the last 10 years—and there have been problems over the last two or three years for carriers—is, without doubt, going to be resumed, and both the Common Market 155 and Boeing studies on the subject show that over the next five years the demand for passengers and freight transport across the North Atlantic is likely almost to double.
B.O.A.C. says that although it has been forced down to carrying only about 24 per cent. of the scheduled traffic across the North Atlantic—the lowest amount that it has ever carried—it hopes to raise it to 32 per cent. of the total demand. Here I should like to pay a tribute to a corporation which is all too frequently maligned. I admire its determination, and particularly that of its chairman, Mr. Keith Granville, in setting out to recapture the traffic which it has lost. But even if it does achieve 32 per cent. of the share, it will still mean that two-thirds of the traffic coming to this country will be carried by foreign carriers. I do not see anything which should stop either British Caledonian or anybody else from having a go at capturing some of that traffic.
For the right hon. Member for Barnsley to say that this policy will be reversed flies in the face of the fact that B.O.A.C, with all its expertise, does not believe that it can get above 32 per cent. or 33 per cent. of the total traffic into its own market. Over and over again one has to keep saying—and hoping that it will sink in—that air traffic is international and not a private preserve over which we have unique domestic jurisdiction. While the Opposition offer to restrict our jurisdiction in this country, the rest of the airlines which operate across the North Atlantic will be only too delighted with those policies.
On one route which British Caledonian is going to operate—the London-Los Angeles-Australia route—it is offering an entirely new service, which does not compete in any way with B.O.A.C. At the moment B.O.A.C. offers five indirect routes to Los Angeles per week, carrying 12 passengers per flight. That is in comparison with the services offered by Pan American and T.W.A.—14 direct services non-stop from London to Los Angeles. Therefore, one must remember that the North Atlantic stretches all the way from New York to the Pacific and is not just the pond off Land's End or Wales.
At the moment, B.O.A.C. is getting only 2 per cent. of this market to the 156 West coast of the United States—the fastest growing market of the whole of the North Atlantic traffic. Even if that is fulfilled, whole areas of the United States are untouched by either British Caledonian or B.O.A.C. For instance, no services are offered by British carriers to Atlanta, Dallas and Houston, in one of the fastest growth areas of the United States.
I hope that my right hon. Friend, the C.A.A. or someone will pay attention to the tremendous problems that will face passengers in London Airport Central this year, when the facilities will simply not be able to cope with even the most pessimistic traffic forecast that we have heard tonight.
My hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow, East talked about restriction of guidance to the C.A.A. The guidance has been carefully thought out to enable the C.A.A. to get on with the job quickly.
That Authority, which was needed many years ago, should not be finding this guidance in any way inhibiting.
I join other hon. Members in saying how delighted I am to know that my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) will be in the chair of the Authority. He faces a tremendous challenge. I draw his attention to Clause 3(l)(b) and (c) of the Civil Aviation Act, 1971. There are set out the needs of British civil air transport—that we should encourage the industry. It is the word "encouragement" that I hope will be my right hon. Friend's watchword. It is our duty not to restrict but to recognise. The opportunity and the demand are alike enormous and the competition which we face should not be, as hon. Members opposite seek to make it, between one side of the Chamber and the other; it should be a competition that we carry right across the battle with other world airlines.
§ 8.59 p.m.
§ Mr. Lewis Carter-Jones (Eccles)
I wish the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carptener) well in the difficult task that he is about to undertake. The House will miss him. If he tries to reconcile this guidance policy with the Committee debates on the Bill, he will find substantial differences 157 Knowing his strict adherence to our constitutional procedures, I know that he will have regard to those debates.
It is regrettable that paragraph 17 should be in the guidance. Its provisions would have been better covered by the British Caledonian (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, because that is all that paragraph 17 is concerned with. It legalises highway robbery. The Minister told us on the Floor of the House and time and time again in Standing Committee that this was to be a once-for-all exercise and that there were no more route transfers to come. Yet we are back to Tops land. "Words shall mean what I want them to mean," says Topsy. The paragraph says that the Authority should bear in mind the need to give the airline adequate opportunitiesduring this airline's formative years.One of the classic cases in economics is that protection shall be afforded to imports of infant industries in their formative years. Because they are infant industries they are protected. The trouble is that infant industries never grow up and they constantly need protection. Over and over again we shall have British Caledonian coming back with its begging bowl for more and more routes.
An hon. Member who spoke earlier hit the nail on the head when he said that British Caledonian will start operating the Atlantic route in the next 15 months to two years. That is precisely the time when this area is likely to become profitable again. My right hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) was correct in saying that a decision on this matter should have been left to the C.A.A. Representations that I have received from my constituency show clearly that there is a desire that the routes which have been taken from our nationalised airlines should be given back in the certain event of a Labour Government.
We are on safer ground with paragraph 25, although I would warn the Chairman-elect of the C.A.A. of the importance of watching the evil effects of noise at night. We debated this matter last week. Tour operators are sending us propaganda with statements such as:If you curtail night flying it is an unnecessary and arbitrary curtailment of flying which is an unnecessary and arbitrary curtailment of social freedom.158 What about the people below? Are they not entitled to protection, freedom and rest? Freedom is not just freedom for tour operators to do what they wish.
One of the dilemmas facing the reputable charter companies and the nationalised carriers in this country is procurement of new aircraft. We would all like to see British technology preserved and as many as possible of the new aircraft containing as many British parts and as much British equipment as possible. It is regrettable that there is no provision for an extended version of the Lockheed TriStar which is being fitted with the Rolls-Royce RB211 engine. An extended version would make it so much easier to sell throughout the world. I hope that the Chairman designate of the C.A.A. will take to heart this part of the directive and make sure that aircraft noise is kept to a minimum by the use of advanced British technology and advanced British engines.
Paragraph 8 of the White Paper says that:The Authority should aim to secure a high standard of aviation safety.That is very desirable, and acceptable to all hon. Members. But paragraph 24, concerning air travel organisers, says that the Authority is restricted to the aviation side of the tour operator. The right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames will have a major responsibility when he becomes the Chairman of the Authority. I sat on the Committee considering the Trade Descriptions Act, 1968. We thought then that we were giving massive protection to people taking holidays overseas. That was an illusion. Paragraph 15 of the 11th Report of the Air Transport Licensing Board for the year ending 31st March, 1971, pleads that too much pressure should not be exerted upon reputable airlines to reduce their price to such an extent that the profit margin is eliminated. Some of the tour operators have become so vast and so arrogant that they are now dictating to the airlines, both the independents and the nationalised airlines, and to overseas hotels, to such an extent that profit margins are being squeezed and squeezed. The airlines' profit margins may be squeezed so much that safety factors are neglected.
The Chairman-designate of the Authority has a major responsibility here. I commend to him the OFFICIAL REPORT 159 of the Committee stage of the Civil Aviation Bill, when the Minister for Trade made an admirable statement of what he would require of the Authority in the way of protection for holiday-makers. He said:These two Amendments broaden the scope of the Clause so as to catch, in addition to travel organisers who act as principals—even though they may call themselves agents—the middle-men who are involved in arranging and wholesaling air travel by groups. They are often at the centre of the abuses that go on in this part of the business."—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 19th May, 1971; c. 447.]The Minister intended the Act to provide the necessary powers of protection for the Authority to stamp out the worst abuses now being carried out by the arrogant, monopolistic tour operators. Since the Trade Descriptions Act cannot give that protection, we rely on the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames to give it. There is not quite the strength in the guidance that I should like to see, but if the right hon. Gentleman refers to the Committee stage he will realise that his right hon. Friend clearly intended that full protection should be given.
I deplore the fact that paragraph 17 is really the "British Caledonian (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill". I urge the right hon. Gentleman to take environmental and noise factors into account. Above all, since no one else has referred to this aspect, I urge him to use all the power he possesses to ensure that tour operators combine quality and safety, because he has control over the flying section.
§ 9.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Adley (Bristol, North-East)
As I shall have to curtail my remarks, I shall not follow the hon. Member for Eccles (Mr. Carter-Jones) too far, except to note that he has joined the bandwagon of the anti-British Caledonian brigade.
§ Mr. Adley
I have a picture in my mind of the anti-British Caledonian lobby perhaps in 50 years' time coming to power seeking to eliminate British Caledonian from existence and being faced with a work-in by the employees. I am sorry to mention his name in his absence, but one wonders, for example, 160 what the attitude of the hon. Member for Feltham (Mr. Russell Kerr) would be in such a situation. In all the anti-British Caledonian remarks we have heard tonight, not a single hon. Member opposite has seen fit to mention the considerable number of people who work for it, who like working for it and to whom British Caledonian is providing security of employment. Furthermore it is possible for the airline to continue to grow whilst B.O.A.C. and B.E.A. also continue to grow and continue to do the first class job they have been doing for many years.
The guidance document is, as the right hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason), said a vast regulatory document covering all aspects of civil aviation policy. I shall not concentrate on paragraph 17 because it has been well done over today. I want to take a brief look at paragraph 1, which contains the words:advising on the provision of aerodromesand paragraph 4, which begins:In framing the guidance it has been the Government's aim to leave the Authority a wide measure of discretion.The discretion I would like to see the Authority taking up is the discretion to become involved in aspects of civil aviation policy which are perhaps not detailed in the document, because there are many areas of civil aviation policy where Government involvement and activity are now the order of the day. The development of new aircraft and the planning and construction of new airports outlast the lifetime of any one Government. If the main task of the Authority is to be that of consultation, one of its main tasks should be wherever possible to try to secure some identity of policy between both sides of the political fence. Unless we can do that, it will be very difficult to have a coherent civil aviation policy in the years ahead.
There is also reference to public need and the vital rôle this has to play. It is no longer just an elite few who fly, but a large number of people. Although, as the hon. Member for Eccles rightly points out, we must protect from the scourge of noise all those who live near airports, we should also remember that many millions now enjoy overseas holidays and fly in aircraft, and that civil aviation is no longer a luxury industry. Thus, millions of people are involved in civil aviation 161 decisions, such as the provision of airports, and no doubt Sir Peter Masefield's words will be borne in mind by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter). Sir Peter was very concerned indeed about the effects of the Foulness Airport decision. I have not time to make all the observations that I intended to make, but I want to say that since 1968 there has been a considerable change in the circumstances in which the Foulness decision was taken. This concerns particularly the Government's commitment to proceed with the Channel Tunnel.
I believe that the Channel Tunnel and the Advanced Passenger Train will have a substantial effect on civil aviation, and I ask my right hon. Friend to ensure that his brief about consultation goes wider than that mentioned in the document, because 24 per cent. of the flights from Heathrow are less than 300 miles and when the Advanced Passenger Trains begin to operate through the Channel Tunnel it is likely that most of those flights will cease to serve any useful social or economic purpose. The electrification of the London Midland main line to Manchester has knocked B.E.A. to the tune of £10½ million on its London-Manchester service. My second plea to my right hon. Friend, therefore, is that consultation should not be concerned only with what appear to be aspects of civil aviation.
I am conscious of the time, and I close by echoing the words of a number of hon. Members on both sides of the House and wish good luck to my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames. He will have his hands full, but I am confident that he will have his eyes wide open to the problems and the potential of the British civil aviation industry.
§ 9.17 p.m.
§ Mr. Bruce Millan (Glasgow, Craigton)
This is an important debate although, unfortunately, not as well attended as it might have been. We are seeing the establishment of the Civil Aviation Authority, with a wide range of powers over the whole of civil aviation, and tonight we are discussing the general guidance on the basis of which it will operate its extensive powers.
I know that it is the wish of hon. Members on both sides of the House that the 162 Authority should have a successful start and a successful existence. In particular, I should like to add my own congratulations and good wishes to those already expressed to the Chairman of the Authority—the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter).
Much of the debate has been taken up with the second independent force and the rôle laid down for British Caledonian. However, there are many other matters in the White Paper and I should like first to mention one or two of those. Apart from British Caledonian, about which, unfortunately, the White Paper is far too precise from our point of view, much of the rest of the White Paper is vague and imprecise—an expression of good intentions, no doubt important but platitudinous sentiments about various issues with which the Authority will be dealing.
In drafting a White Paper of this sort it is difficult to get the right balance between putting in too much, and therefore appearing to tie the hands of the Authority before it has even started its work, and putting in too little, and thus producing, as is produced here in a number of paragraphs, sentiments expressed in such general terms that they are virtually meaningless.
I mention one or two points that I consider important. I hope that the Authority will give considerable and early attention to the problems that it will inherit. First, there is the question of the whole development of regional services, which my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Mr. John) mentioned earlier, and there is the particular problem of the Highlands and Islands service. The right hon. Gentleman will remember that we discussed that service particularly, at considerable length, on a new Clause that I tabled in Committee on the Civil Aviation Bill. It is singled out for special mention here. The right hon. Gentleman knows the view that I take strongly—that these services are essential to the areas concerned. It is also my view that the cleanest way of dealing with them—and the method which the Labour Government, in their White Paper, said they wanted to adopt but which the present Government have not adopted—is to apply a straight subsidy to the airline responsible, namely, B.E.A., for the maintenance of these services, to be done 163 on a basis which does not involve the extravagant expenditure of public money but recognises that these services are virtually impossible to run on an economic basis.
The Government have not adopted that solution, but I tell the right hon. Gentleman and the Authority that those of us with particular interests in the Scottish Highlands and Islands will look carefully at what they do and shall certainly want to see that anything that they do contributes to the maintenance of these essential services in that part of the country.
On the question of consultation, it seems that paragraph 28 is not only the briefest paragraph, as the right hon. Gentleman said, but is also the vaguest. We hope that the new Authority will interpret that paragraph in the strongest and not the weakest way. It is possible to interpret it in virtually any way that the Authority wishes, but I hope that it will keep in mind the considerable importance of developing consultative arrangements over the whole range of the Authority's responsibilities.
As for the financial obligations in paragraph 29, in spite of what the right hon. Gentleman said, there is still a considerable vagueness in trying to estimate exactly how the finances of the Authority will work out. The only point here is that as a large part of the charges that it will have to levy will be paid for by British airlines it is very important, while recognising the need to recover from the travelling public as much as possible of the cost of these very expensive services, to recognise that it would not be desirable from the point of view of the development of civil aviation in Britain to impose on our national airlines burdens far beyond the kind of burdens that their competitors bear in other countries. I hope that in the development of the financial policy that principle will be kept very much in mind.
I turn to the question of the second independent force, which has been the matter most thoroughly discussed this evening. That follows from the considerable discussion that we had on this matter during the passage of the Civil Aviation Bill and, indeed, before then. I do not intend to go over the whole of the arguments, 164 and what was said in the Edwards Report, in the Labour Government White Paper, and so on, because those arguments were thoroughly rehearsed during the passage of that Bill. I simply point out that the Government cannot by any stretch of the imagination be taken to be following the policy laid down by the Labour Government in the White Paper of 1969. I must put that on record, without arguing the matter in detail. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, I have argued it on a number of occasions, and it would hardly be necessary to mention it except that the hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Onslow) tried to pretend that my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) was saying things now which were incompatible and inconsistent with what he said when he was the Minister responsible. In any case, even if there were a certain inconsistency, it would not necessarily be a criticism, because today the situation—particularly the financial situation—of B.O.A.C. and B.E.A. is entirely different from what is was in 1969 and 1970.
Even before the Act came into operation there had been substantial transfers of routes from B.O.A.C. to British Caledonian, and such as the West African routes and the London—Tripoli routes. The Gatwick—Le Bourget route was transferred from B.E.A., and the restrictions on the East African first-class traffic of British Caledonian were lifted. These transfers, which were straight transfers from the nationalised airlines to an independent company, have already cost the nationalised airlines considerable sums—and that means, at the end of the day, the British taxpayer. Sums like £6 million have been mentioned. In the case of the West African routes alone, B.O.A.C.'s loss over a year is about £1½ million—this at a time when B.O.A.C. and B.E.A. are finding it very difficult to meet the financial obligations which the Government and Parliament have laid on them.
We vigorously opposed Clause 3 of the Bill before it became an Act, because it seemed to us that it gave legislative preference to British Caledonian at the expense of B.O.A.C. and B.E.A. Everything said during the passage of the legislation, and particularly what we read in the White Paper, simply confirms our fear that this represented a massive preference for British Caledonian over the 165 nationalised airlines. In the conditions of world civil aviation as we know them at present it is very difficult to maintain a case for building up a second independent force, unless it is done, as it is bound to be done—and we are vigorously opposed to this—at the expense of the nationalised airlines.
The White Paper confirms and emphasises the fears that we had during the passage of the Civil Aviation Bill. First, there is no reassertion in the White Paper that the original transfers were made on a once-for-all basis. The right hon. Gentleman said today that the Government did not intend to make any further route transfers from B.O.A.C. to British Caledonian. That is obvious, because the Government's powers in this regard run out at the end of this month. But that does not answer the question. The White Paper does not prevent subsequent transfers, under the aegis of the Civil Aviation Authority, from the nationalised airlines to British Caledonian. That is what we are complaining about, and nothing said by the Government has answered that point.
The other point of particular importance concerns paragraph 17 of the White Paper, in which is laid out in the most explicit terms preference for British Caledonian not just over other independentairlines—there would be a certain amount of sense in that, although the hon. Member for Walthamstow, East (Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson) has a point when he puts the case for the other independent airlines—but over all airlines, including nationalised airlines.
§ Mr. John Wilkinson (Bradford, West)
Should not the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the independent companies have a long history of being great innovators—for instance, British Air Ferries in respect of car cargo, Transmeridian for specialised air freight, and Laker in respect of wide-bodied airliners?
§ Mr. Millan
There have been innovations by the nationalised corporations as well, but that is off the point that I am making. Paragraph 17 contains a completely explicit and considerable preference for British Caledonian, with no regard to the financial consequences for B.E.A. and B.O.A.C. although there is admittedly one vague reference in the White Paper to the economies of airlines generally. Preference for British 166 Caledonian can only be at the expense of the nationalised airlines and can only prejudice the responsibility that the House lays on those airlines for a proper return on the national investment. That is the most unforgivable feature of the White Paper.
Apart from the White Paper, the Air Transport Licensing Board has recently made an extraordinary decision which it is arguable is incompatible in several respects with the White Paper. If so, it is all the more scandalous that the decision should have been taken by the A.T.L.B. so near to the end of its life and to the establishment of the Authority. I am afraid that the decision of the A.T.L.B. has been taken about the British Caledonian applications in anticipation of the White Paper and in the light of what the A.T.L.B. interpreted to be the guidance that the Government would give to the Authority, and that is explicitly said in the decision. If that is the position, the recent A.T.L.B. decision will start the new Authority on a lengthy process of giving preference to British Caledonian at the expense of the nationalised corporations. Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether he believes that the A.T.L.B. decision is in line with the White Paper?
It is scandalous that the decision should have been taken at all. The decision is for 15 years. That is a highly unusual procedure for the A.T.L.B. to adopt especially within a month of the establishment of the Authority. The Minister has power to stop these applications now and pass them on to the Authority, and he should do so.
There are some remarkable features about the decision of the A.T.L.B. Although several changes of circumstance are mentioned since 1968 when the previous British Caledonian application was turned down, the decision omits to mention the most substantial change of all—the present uneconomic nature of the North Atlantic routes. My right hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley has already noted the figures given by Mr. Tillinghast, the Chief Executive of T.W.A., in a speech made a few days ago in New York, when he stated that the 19 I.A.T.A. airlines which operate across the Atlantic lost £112 million last year. Do the Government accept that as a correct figure? If that is not the correct 167 figure, will the right hon. Gentleman tell us what the correct figure is? I believe that those figures are correct. I have not seen them contradicted. In a situation in which routes are already overcrowded, where there is excess capacity, and where substantial losses are being made by airlines, it is monstrous to grant applications which can only worsen the position from the British point of view.
A number of my hon. Friends have suggested that British Caledonian hopes to make a quick killing in some of the applications that have been made for additional route licences. That may be true of the West African routes and in a number of other respects, but I doubt whether it is true of the North Atlantic routes. Indeed, the A.T.L.B., in its decision document, said that on the economics of the operation it doubted whether the figures advanced by British Caledonian would be justified.
During the proceedings on the Civil Aviation Bill there was a good deal of discussion about inadequacy of information—such as statistics—about the airline industry. We were given assurances that the new Authority would behave better in this regard and that in giving decisions the A.T.L.B. would give more information in substantiating applications. However, in the decision which the A.T.L.B. gave two or three weeks ago it did not mention the effects of any decision on B.O.A.C. finances. Indeed, that factor does not even seem to have been considered in the A.T.L.B. conclusion. We know that B.O.A.C.'s group profit in 1970 was £19 million, that in 1971 it fell to £3 million, and that in 1972 it will be extremely difficult for B.O.A.C. to produce any profit at all. The loss of traffic that is bound to be involved in the British Caledonian licences will make it difficult for B.O.A.C. to make any kind of financial return on what the hon. Member for Walthamstow, East called the national assets which it is operating on our behalf.
There is another rather odd feature of the A.T.L.B. decision. In paragraph 25 of its statement it said:We might well have been influenced by the reflection that this policy"—that is, the policy of giving routes to British Caledonian—might lead to financial support by the Government in case of need.168 It then went on to say that it set aside that reflection. It is extraordinary that the board should have even mentioned that matter. Did the Government give guidance to the board that in certain circumstances financial assistance would be available for British Caledonian, or is this simply something said by the board out of the blue? I can hardly believe that it would have included that kind of sentence unless some kind of hint about financial assistance were given. I hope that the Minister will clear up that point in his reply.
One of the dangers in the Government's policy is that it might lead to a situation in which British Caledonian is over-committed and becomes unable to meet its financial obligations. In that situation the Government would face the problem either of reversing their policy altogether by allowing British Caledonian to go out of the picture, or of having to give additional preference to British Caledonian to keep the second independent force going.
In one sense British Caledonian is potentially an airline that will make substantial profits out of the public purse but, equally dangerously, we may have in British Caledonian a potential lame duck facing the Government with the problem that I have just outlined. In that situation we shall have the unedifying experience of having, in one way or another, financial help being given to the independent airline at the expense of nationalised airlines on a scale not even envisaged now.
The only possible reason one can see for the policy adopted by the Government during the passage of the Bill to the Statute Book—a policy that they are now re-emphasising—is prejudice against the nationalised airlines and against their work which amounts almost to the destruction of national assets. That is why we have said, and why we repeat today, that the next Labour Government will reverse that policy. That is also why we shall vote against the White Paper.
§ 9.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Loughlin
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister has already addressed the House.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)
Order. I should rather have thought that an hon. Member of the standing and knowledge of the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin) would know perfectly well that any hon. or right hon. Member in charge of a substantive Motion does not require permission of the House to speak a second time.
§ Mr. Loughlin
There have been a number of occasions when right hon. Gentlemen who have been in control of substantive issues have prefaced their remarks by asking leave of the House to speak again.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
That may well be so. There are some hon. Members who do not have the advantage of the knowledge which I take the hon. Gentleman, from my experience of him, to have. I am rather surprised that he should say that.
§ Mr. Loughlin
I am very sorry, Mr. Deputy Speaker. You may flatter me, but you may guide me also. I do not know any procedure in the House which gives the right hon. Gentleman, having spoken once in this debate—and, after all, we are not debating a Statutory Instrument—the right to address the House again without leave of the House. You may be able to tell me of the Standing Order relating to this situation, but as far as I know the Standing Orders it is incumbent on the right hon. Gentleman to ask leave to address the House a second time.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
If the hon. Gentleman will read again that page which he knows so well—page 409 of "Erskine May"—he will see that for once his memory is slightly at fault.
§ Mr. Loughlin rose—
§ Mr. Loughlin
I am perfectly entitled to put a point of order. It is now a quarter to ten, which is not excessively late. May I ask you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, at what time this debate finishes? It may well finish at ten o'clock, but it could finish at 11.30. If it finishes at 11.30 and the right hon. Gentleman has an automatic right to address the House a second time, it might be of advantage to the House for those who 170 wish to contribute to the debate to be heard before the right hon. Gentleman. May we know the position?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
The position is covered by the tradition of the House, which is that when a Front Bencher rises to speak it is normal for the Chair to call him at that time. When the hon. Gentleman the Member for Glasgow, Craigton, (Mr. Millan) rose, I could have called several hon. Members to speak at that time. I do not think that the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West was in the Chamber at the time: those hon. Members were, and had been there all the time. I had to disappoint them because there had been an agreement for this debate to end at about ten o'clock. So the hon. Gentleman rose, and I called him, as was proper. I then called the right hon. Gentleman the Minister, and that is quite correct, too. The right hon. Gentleman needs no permission from anyone to speak.
§ Mr. Loughlin
Hon. Members opposite must realise that this is a legitimate issue involving the procedures of this House. Unless hon. Members accept that, they are approaching the Reichstag rather than our democratic Parliament. May I take it, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that under the procedures of this House this debate can continue until half past eleven—
§ Mr. Loughlin
I do not need tuition from the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. Kenneth Lewis). We have a situation where we are debating two issues. We are debating the guidance which has been given to the Civil Aviation Authority. Incorporated with it are a number of Statutory Instruments. I conclude from that that it is within the procedures of this House that this debate should continue for one and a half hours after ten o'clock—[Interruption.] Shut up, you fool—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West will not address the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. Kenneth Lewis) like that. I 171 hope the hon. Gentleman will remember that he is addressing a point of order to me.
§ Mr. Loughlin
I apologise, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Of course, I would not dream of calling you a fool. However, when I hear a steady stream of remarks by the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford from a sedentary position, with respect, it is your duty to restrain him. If I made a remark from a sedentary position, you would have no hesitation in restraining me. Your responsibility—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. This will not do at all, and the hon. Gentleman knows it. He is casting aspersions on the Chair and the Chair's impartiality. I do not believe that the hon. Gentleman really means to do that. Furthermore, I will tell him now that he may speak until half-past eleven himself if he wishes once the Minister has drawn his remarks to a conclusion. If the hon. Gentleman does so, of course, he will have to take whatever consequences his colleagues like to mete out to him. That has nothing to do with me. I have called the Minister. I find no point of order to answer. I order the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West to resume his seat.
§ Mr. Loughlin rose—
§ Mr. Loughlin rose—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Unless the hon. Gentleman resumes his seat immediately, I shall give him an official warning.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman will resume his seat. Let me make it clear to him that I will not hear any more points of order on this point. I have told him that the right hon. Gentleman whom I have called has the right of reply. When the right hon. Gentleman has concluded his remarks, if we have not reached half-past eleven and the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West rises I shall call him.
§ Mr. Loughlin
I am entitled to put a point of order—[Interruption.] Only the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker can determine whether it is in order. Even so, it cannot be determined before I have put my point of order. My point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, is this. You chose to rebuke me for dealing with the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford as I did. My criticism of the Chair, which you said was a criticism of the Chair, was not intended to be—
§ The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. William Whitelaw)
In accordance with precedent and following your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I beg to move,That Mr. Charles Loughlin be suspended from the service of the House.
§ Question put:
§ The House divided: Ayes 299, Noes 220.
|Bowden, Andrew||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Haselhurst, Alan||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.|
|Brains, Bernard||Havers, Michael||Mudd, David|
|Bray, Ronald||Hawkins, Paul||Murton, Oscar|
|Brewis, John||Hay, John||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hayhoe, Barney||Neave, Airey|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Heseltine, Michael||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Hicks, Robert||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hiley, Joseph||Normanton, Tom|
|Bryan, Paul||Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally|
|Buck, Antony||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Onslow, Cranley|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Holland, Philip||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Burden, F. A.||Holt, Miss Mary||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Hooson, Emlyn||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn)||Hordern, Peter||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Hornby, Richard||Pardoe, John|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia||Parkinson, Cecil|
|Chapman, Sydney||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Peel, John|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Howell, David (Guildford)||Percival, Ian|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Peyton, Rt. Hn. John|
|Churchill, W. S.||Hunt, John||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Pounder, Rafton|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Iremonger, T. L.||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Cockeram, Eric||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Cooke, Robert||James, David||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.|
|Coombs, Derek||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Cordle, John||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis|
|Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Jessel, Toby||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Cormack, Patrick||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Raison, Timothy|
|Costain, A. P.||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Critchley, Julian||Jopling, Michael||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Crouch, David||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)|
|Crowder, F. P.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Rees, Peter (Dover)|
|Curran, Charles||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Maj.-Gen. James||Kershaw, Anthony||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Dean, Paul||Kilfedder, James||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Kimball, Marcus||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Dixon, Piers||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Dykes, Hugh||Kinsey, J. R.||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff. N.)|
|Eden, Sir John||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Knox, David||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lambton, Lord||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'ctle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Lane, David||Rost, Peter|
|Eyre, Reginald||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Royle, Anthony|
|Farr, John||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Fell, Anthony||Le Marchant, Spencer||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Scott, Nicholas|
|Fidler, Michael||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Longden, Gilbert||Sharples, Richard|
|Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||Loveridge, John||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Luce, R. N.||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Simeons, Charles|
|Fortescue, Tim||MacArthur, Ian||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Foster, Sir John||McCrindle, R. A.||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Fowler, Norman||McLaren, Martin||Soref, Harold|
|Fox, Marcus||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Speed, Keith|
|Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)||McMaster, Stanley||Spence, John|
|Fry, Peter||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Sproat, Iain|
|Galbraith, Hn. T. G||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Stainton, Keith|
|Gardner, Edward||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest)||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Maddan, Martin||Steel, David|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Madel, David||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Maginnis, John E.||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Marten, Neil||Stokes, John|
|Goodhart, Philip||Mather, Carol||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Goodhew, Victor||Maude, Angus||Sutcliffe, John|
|Gorst, John||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Tapsell, Peter|
|Gower, Raymond||Mawby, Ray||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Green, Alan||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)|
|Grieve, Percy||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Tebbit, Norman|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Miscampbell, Norman||Temple, John M.|
|Grylls, Michael||Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Gummer, Selwyn||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Thomas. John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Gurden, Harold||Moate, Roger||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Molyneaux, James||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Money, Ernle||Trew, Peter|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Monks, Mrs. Connie||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Monro Hector||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Hannam, John (Exeter)||Montgomery, Fergus||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||More, Jasper||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Waddington, David||Wells, John (Maidstone)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Walder, David (Clitheroe)||White, Roger (Gravesend)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek||Wiggin, Jerry||Younger, Hn. George|
|Wall, Patrick||Wilkinson, John|
|Walters, Dennis||Winterton, Nicholas||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Ward, Dame Irene||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick||Mr. Walter Clegg and|
|Warren, Kenneth||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard||Mr. Hamish Gray.|
|Weatherill, Bernard||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Gilbert, Dr. John||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Allen, Scholefield||Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)||Milne, Edward|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Gourlay, Harry||Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton Itchen)|
|Ashley, Jack||Grant, George (Morpeth)||Molloy, William|
|Atkinson, Norman||Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)|
|Beaney, Alan||Hamling, William||Moyle, Roland|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Hardy, Peter||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Harper, Joseph||Murray, Ronald King|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Hattersley, Roy||Oakes, Gordon|
|Bishop, E. S.||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Ogden, Eric|
|Booth, Albert||Heffer, Eric S.||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Hilton, W. S.||O'Malley, Brian|
|Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)||Horam, John||Oram, Bert|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Huckfield, Leslie||Orbach, Maurice|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Hughes, Rt. Hn.Cledwyn(Anglesey)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Buchan, Norman||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Padley, Walter|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Paget, R. T.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hunter, Adam||Palmer, Arthur|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill)||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Janner, Greville||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Carmichael, Neil||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Pendry, Tom|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Pentland, Norman|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Perry, Ernest G.|
|Clark, David (Colne Valley)||John, Brynmor||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Prescott, John|
|Cohen, Stanley||Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Coleman, Donald||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Concannon, J. D.||Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn (W.Ham,S.)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Richard, Ivor|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Judd, Frank||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Cronin, John||Kaufman, Gerald||Roberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Kelley, Richard||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)|
|Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)||Kerr, Russell||Roper, John|
|Dalyell, Tam||Kinnock, Neil||Rose, Paul B.|
|Davidson, Arthur||Lambie, David||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Lamond, James||Sandelson, Neville|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Latham, Arthur||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Short, Rt.Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Deakins, Eric||Leonard, Dick||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton.N.E.)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Lestor, Miss Joan||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Dempsey, James||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Dormand, J. D.||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Sillars, James|
|Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Lipton, Marcus||Silverman, Julius|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Lomas, Kenneth||Skinner, Dennis|
|Driberg, Tom||Loughlin, Charles||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Dunn, James A.||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Stallard, A. W.|
|Dunnett, Jack||McBride, Neil||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)|
|Eadie, Alex||McCann, John||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||McCartney, Hugh||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Ellis, Tom||McElhone, Frank||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|English, Michael||McGuire, Michael||Swain, Thomas|
|Evans, Fred||Mackenzie, Gregor||Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)|
|Ewing, Henry||Maclennan, Robert||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Faulds, Andrew||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Torney, Tom|
|Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.||McNamara, J. Kevin||Tuck, Raphael|
|Fisher,Mrs.Doris(B'ham,Ladywood)||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Varley, Eric G.|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Marks, Kenneth||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Marquand, David||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Foley, Maurice||Marsden, F.||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Foot, Michael||Marshall, Dr. Edmund||Wallace, George|
|Forrester, John||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Watkins, David|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Weitzman, David|
|Freeson, Reginald||Mendelson, John||Wellbeloved, James|
|Garrett, W. E.||Millan, Bruce||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Whitehead, Phillip||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)||Mr. John Golding and|
|Whitlock, William||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)||Mr. James Hamilton|
|Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Woof, Robert|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I have to direct the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West to withdraw from the House, in accordance with the decision which the House has just made.
§ The hon. Member withdrew accordingly.
§ It being after Ten o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.