HC Deb 13 March 1972 vol 833 cc173-86

Question again proposed.

Mr. Mason

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Although the suspension Division may have interfered with business, am I not right in assuming that the Minister should now wind up the debate and that the debate should be concluded by a Division, if we wish it?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly correct.

Mr. Noble

We had—[Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I hope hon. Members will allow the Minister to make his speech by leaving the House as quietly as possible.

Mr. Noble

We had, in a rather less crowded House, an exceedingly useful debate which was perhaps interesting and unusual in one particular regard, namely, that while a good deal of the discussion was apparently directed at the Minister it was quite clear that many speakers intended to get a point across to my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) who will take over the chairmanship of the Civil Aviation Authority in a few weeks' time. I am certain that he profited a good deal from the advice that was offered to him during the course of the debate.

I would like to say a word of thanks to the Air Registration Board and the A.T.L.B., which will cease to exist in their old form at the end of this month, for the considerable work that they have done for the country. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan), in his winding-up speech, said very fairly that he realised that it was difficult to produce a document of guidance because a balance had to be attained between saying too much, which would unnecessarily tie the C.A.A.'s hands, and saying too little, in which case the comments might appear to be rather platitudinous. He and I agree that we are aiming to give the Authority the maximum flexibility, and on behalf of the Government I have said that we will support it where we can.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton asked me to bear in mind the point about the Highlands and Islands. I have discussed this with the Chairman-designate, and I can assure the hon. Member that my right hon. Friend thinks that within the period we have given him he will be able to produce a useful report on which we can take advice.

The hon. Gentleman also raised the question of the finances, a point raised by several other hon. Members, particularly my hon. Friend the Member for Hastings (Mr. Warren), who spoke about the importance, when we are imposing air navigation charges on the airlines, of trying to obtain agreement in I.A.T.A. so that we obtain our share of the charges from the foreign airlines as well.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, North-East (Mr. Adley) rightly referred to the number of people who are now working for British Caledonian and are very happy to be doing that. We should bear that in mind as well as the criticisms which were only too freely hurled around in the debate. My hon. Friend also pointed out that the electrification of the Manchester-London railway line had cost B.E.A. £10½ million. As the right hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) kept talking about what British Caledonian had "cost" B.E.A. and B.O.A.C, it is interesting that that action by British Rail cost considerably more than any of the figures he gave.

I am sorry I missed the beginning of the speech of the hon. Member for Eccles (Mr. Carter-Jones), but I have a note of it. My right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames will have noted his points about the air travel organisers, on which he knows I agree with him very much.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hastings did not altogether approve of the charter warfare I was carrying on. I am sorry, but a number of companies built up considerable charter businesses, and they have expanded considerably recently by flouting the international laws and our national laws on charter competition. The war was, therefore, in my view right and essential, but I do not intend to damage the chances of British aviation, either independent or in the public sector.

One point I would make to the Opposition, when they are continually telling me how much damage I am causing to B.O.A.C. and B.E.A. by allowing in a second force airline, is that I have at the same time made considerable concessions to both nationalised airlines to carry on charter businesses and take part in other operations which they said they needed, and I agreed, to meet the competition of foreign airlines.

The hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. John) spoke about the regional problems. He hoped that the perhaps not too carefully defined part in paragraphs 20 and 21 would give the Civil Aviation Authority a sufficiently free hand, and I think it does.

My hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow, East (Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson) was worried lest we had crossed too many "ts" in the guidance. That is a question of balance, but I believe we have given the Authority enough flexibility. We circulated the appropriate bits of the guidance to all the people immediately affected and they told us any points they felt we could change. On the whole, there was a very wide degree of agreement.

My hon. Friend asked whether we believe in more competition. Yes, we do. But, because this is an international type of co-operation, the competition has to be fair, and one that will bring

Division No. 83 AYES [10.20 p.m.
Adley, Robert Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Atkins, Humphrey
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Awdry, Daniel
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Astor, John Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)

a larger measure of the travelling public into British airlines and not drive them into using overseas airlines. I disagree with my hon. Friend's analysis of what is likely to happen on the North Atlantic charters. I also agree that we should ask my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames to look carefully at the noise problem. Paragraph 25 gives him the necessary power to do so and to give advice which I am sure the Government will heed. I confess that I am slightly relieved that at least some of the enormous amount of mail which has come to me weekly about the noise problem may now be diverted to another channel for a while.

The main theme of the debate has come back over and over again to the second force, the transferred routes, and the preferences which the guidance offers. I have heard the same speeches from hon. Members opposite time and again and I have put our case time and again. I now simply say, therefore, that we are following the policy recommended by Edwards, which was laid down by the Labour Government and which we have taken up with one important difference, in that the Labour Government would not have given the second force any method by which it could have established itself. We did not believe that one could set up the second force and not give it any of the resources needed to become viable. So we have changed the Labour Government's policy, and we are not ashamed of it.

To try to suggest, as the Opposition have done today, that there has been some curious change because we have introduced preferences as a new item in the guidance, is asking me to believe too much, because the preferences were clearly stated in the Civil Aviation Act and during the debates that we had on the Act. For that reason, I feel that I am unlikely to be able to convince hon. Members opposite and I do not believe that they will easily convince me. I feel that the debate has been useful and perhaps it may now reasonably reach a conclusion.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 305, Noes 268.

Balniel, Lord Glyn, Dr. Alan Mawby, Ray
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Batsford, Brian Goodhart, Philip Meyer, Sir Anthony
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Goodhew, Victor Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Bell, Ronald Gorst, John Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Gower, Raymond Miscampbell, Norman
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)
Benyon, W. Green Alan Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Berry, Hn. Anthony Grieve, Percy Moate, Roger
Biffen, John Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Molyneaux, James
Biggs-Davison, John Grylls, Michael Money, Ernle
Blaker, Peter Gummer, Selwyn Monks, Mrs. Connie
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Gurden, Harold Monro, Hector
Body, Richard Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Montgomery, Fergus
Boscawen, Robert Hall, John (Wycombe) More, Jasper
Bossom, Sir Clive Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Bowden, Andrew Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Braine, Bernard Hannam, John (Exeter) Morrison, Charles
Bray, Ronald Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Mudd, David
Brewis, John Haselhurst, Alan Murton, Oscar
Brinton, Sir Tatton Havers, Michael Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Hawkins, Paul Neave, Airey
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hay, John Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Hayhoe, Barney Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Bryan, Paul Heseltine, Michael Normanton, Tom
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M) Hicks, Robert Onslow, Cranley
Buck, Antony Hiley, Joseph Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally
Bullus, Sir Eric Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Burden, F. A. Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Osborn, John
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Holland, Philip Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn) Holt, Miss Mary Page, Graham (Crosby)
Carlisle, Mark Hooson, Emlyn Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Hordern, Peter Pardoe, John
Channon, Paul Hornby, Richard Parkinson, Cecil
Chapman, Sydney Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Peel, John
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Percival, Ian
Chichester-Clark, R. Howell, David (Guildford) Peyton, Rt. Hn. John
Churchill, W. S. Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Pink, R. Bonner
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Hunt, John Pounder, Rafton
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hutchison, Michael Clark Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Clegg, Walter Iremonger, T. L. Price, David (Eastleigh)
Cockeram, Eric Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Cooke, Robert James, David Proudfoot, Wilfred
Coombs, Derek Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Cordle, John Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Quennell, Miss J. M.
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Jessel, Toby Raison, Timothy
Cormack, Patrick Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Costain, A. P. Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Critchley, Julian Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Redmond, Robert
Crouch, David Kaberry, Sir Donald Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Crowder, F. P. Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Rees, Peter (Dover)
Curran, Charles Kershaw, Anthony Rees-Davies, W. R.
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Maj.-Gen.James Kilfedder, James Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Dean, Paul Kimball, Marcus Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Digby, Simon Wingfield King, Tom (Bridgwater) Ridsdale, Julian
Dixon, Piers Kinsey, J. R. Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Dodds-Parker, Douglas Knight, Mrs. Jill Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Knox, David Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Dykes, Hugh Lambton, Lord Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Eden, Sir John Lane, David Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Langford-Holt, Sir John Rost, Peter
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Royle, Anthony
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-uponTyne,N.) Le Merchant, Spencer Russell, Sir Ronald
Emery, Peter Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) St. John-Stevas, Norman
Eyre, Reginald Longden, Gilbert Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Farr, John Loveridge, John Scott, Nicholas
Fell, Anthony Luce, R. N. Scott-Hopkins, James
Fenner, Mrs. Peggy McAdden, Sir Stephen Sharples, Richard
Fidler, Michael MacArthur, Ian Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) McCrindle, R. A. Shelton, William (Clapham)
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) McLaren, Martin Simeons, Charles
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Skeet, T. H. H.
Fookes, Miss Janet McMaster, Stanley Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Fortescue, Tim Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Soref, Harold
Foster, Sir John McNair-Wilson, Michael Speed, Keith
Fowler, Norman McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest) Spence, John
Fox, Marcus Maddan, Martin Sproat, Iain
Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(Stfford & Stone) Madel, David Stainton, Keith
Fry, Peter Maginnis, John E. Stanbrook, Ivor
Galbraith, Hn. T. G Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Steel, David
Gardner, Edward Marten, Neil Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Gibson-Watt, David, Mather, Carol Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Maude, Angus Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Stokes, John
Stuttaford, Dr. Tom Tugendhat, Christopher Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Sutcliffe, John Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin Wiggin, Jerry
Tapsell, Peter van Straubenzee, W. R. Wilkinson, John
Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Vaughan, Dr. Gerard Winterton, Nicholas
Taylor,Edward M. (G'gow,Cathcart) Waddington, David Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) Walder, David (Clitheroe) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.) Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Tebbit, Norman Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek Woodnutt, Mark
Temple, John M. Wall, Patrick Worsley, Marcus
Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret Walters, Dennis Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth) Ward, Dame Irene Younger, Hn. George
Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.) Warren, Kenneth
Tilney, John Weatherill, Bernard TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Trafford, Dr. Anthony Wells, John (Maldstone) Mr. Michael Joplin and
Trew, Peter White, Roger (Gravesend) Mr. Hamish Gray
Abse, Leo Douglas-Mann, Bruce Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Albu, Austen Driberg, Tom Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Duffy, A. E. P. Judd, Frank
Allen, Scholefield Dunn, James A. Kaufman, Gerald
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Dunnett, Jack Kelley, Richard
Armstrong, Ernest Eadie, Alex Kerr, Russell
Ashley, Jack Edelman, Maurice Kinnock, Neil
Atkinson, Norman Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lambie, David
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Edwards, William (Merioneth) Lamond, James
Barnes, Michael Ellis, Tom Latham, Arthur
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) English, Michael Lawson, George
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Evans, Fred Leadbitter, Ted
Baxter, William Ewing, Harry Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Beaney, Alan Faulds, Andrew Leonard, Dick
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Lestor, Miss Joan
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham,Ladywood) Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold
Bidwell, Sydney Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)
Bishop, E. S. Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Lipton, Marcus
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Foley, Maurice Lomas, Kenneth
Booth, Albert Foot, Michael Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Ford, Ben Lyons, Edward (Bradford,E.)
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Forrester, John Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Bradley, Tom Fraser, John (Norwood) McBride, Neil
Broughton, Sir Alfred Freeson, Reginald McCann, John
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Galpern, Sir Myer McElhone, Frank
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Garrett, W. E. McGuire, Michael
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Gilbert, Dr. John Mackenzie, Gregor
Buchan, Norman Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Mackie, John
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. G. Mackintosh, John P.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Gourlay, Harry Maclennan, Robert
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Grant, George (Morpeth) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Grant, John D, (Islington E.) McNamara, J. Kevin
Cant, R. B. Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Carmichael, Neil Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield. E.)
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Marks, Kenneth
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Marquand, David
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Hamling, William Marsden, F.
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Marshall, Dr. Edmund
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Hardy, Peter Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Cohen, Stanley Harper, Joseph Mayhew, Christopher
Coleman, Donald Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Meacher, Michael
Concannon, J. D. Hattersley, Roy Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Conlan, Bernard Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Mendelson, John
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Heffer, Eric S. Millan, Bruce
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Horam, John Miller, Dr. M. S.
Crawshaw, Richard Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Milne, Edward
Cronin, John Huckfield, Leslie Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Molloy, William
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Hughes, Mark (Durham) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Hughes, Roy (Newport) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Dalyell, Tam Hunter, Adam Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill) Moyle, Roland
Davidson, Arthur Janner, Greville Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Murray, Ronald King
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Jeger, Mrs. Lena Oakes, Gordon
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Ogden, Eric
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) O'Halloran, Michael
Deakins, Eric John, Brynmor O'Malley, Brian
Delargy, Hugh (Thurrock) Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Oram, Bert
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Orbach, Maurice
Dempsey, James Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Orme, Stanley
Doig, Peter Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Oswald, Thomas
Dormand, J. D. Jones, Dan (Burnley) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn (W.Ham,S.) Padley, Walter
Palmer, Arthur Short,Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne) Tuck, Raphael
Panned, Rt. Hn. Charles Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.) Urwin, T. W.
Parker, John (Dagenham) Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford) Varley, Eric G.
Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich) Wainwright, Edwin
Pavitt, Laurie Sillars, James Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Silverman, Julius Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Pentland, Norman Skinner, Dennis Wallace, George
Perry, Ernest G. Small, William Watkins, David
Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.) Weitzman, David
Prescott, John Spearing, Nigel Wellbeloved, James
Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Probert, Arthur Spriggs, Leslie Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Rankin, John Stallard, A. W. White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham) Whitehead, Phillip
Rhodes, Geoffrey Stoddart, David (Swindon) Whitlock, William
Richard, Ivor Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Strang, Gavin Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Roberts, Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Br'c'n&R'dnor) Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Swain, Thomas Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Roper, John Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.) Woof, Robert
Ross, Paul B. Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Tinn, James TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Sandelson, Neville Tomney, Frank Mr. John Golding
Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Torney, Tom Mr. Tom Pendry.
Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)

Question accordingly agreed to.


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.