HC Deb 09 April 1986 vol 95 cc289-90
Mr. Michael Spicer

I beg to move amendment No. 10, in page 13, line 14 after '(1)', insert 'Subject to subsection (1A),'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 11 and 12.

Mr. Spicer

Because these are simple amendments, perhaps I can address myself briefly to amendments Nos. 11 and 12, which are the substantive ones.

The purpose of amendment No. 11 is to ensure that the minimum number of directors who are employees and are to be appointed to the board of a public airport company under subsection (1) are suitably experienced in airport management. The whole purpose of the subsection is to ensure that airport company boards contain a minimum element of practical airport experience. It would be in the interests of neither the company, the employees nor the ratepayers if this important objective were to be frustrated by the appointment of employees who lacked experience of airport management. I hope that the House will be able to accept the amendment.

Amendment No. 12 is a rather different proposition. In Committee, in response to an amendment proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) I undertook to look again at the provision in subsection (1) for a minimum number of public airport company directors to be drawn from full-time employees. My hon. Friend pinpointed the problem, which is that a local authority which had contracted out the management of its airport—the issue which we have just debated, and I should perhaps have said earlier that we wanted to make to this concession those who had contracted-out management—would be unlikely to have sufficient qualified employees within the public airport company to satisfy the requirement in the subsection that three, or one quarter of the directors should be full-time employees.

We have considered the problem carefully and we believe that it can be tackled by providing that if the Secretary of State is satisfied that appropriate arrangements for the management of the airport have been made, he may direct that an exemption from the provision of subsection (1) be granted to the controlling authority concerned. That is precisely in response to the point raised by my hon. Friend in Committee, and what this amendment aims to do.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 11, in page 13, line 18 at end insert

'who are suitably qualified to act as directors of the company by virtue of their experience in airport management'. No. 12, in line 18 at end insert— ' (1A) Where at any time it appears to the Secretary of State—

  1. (a) that a public airport company has made arrangements for the management of the airport operated by it to be carried on otherwise than through its officers or employees and
  2. (b) that any such arrangements are adequate to secure that those participating in the management of the airport under the arrangements are suitably qualified to do so by virtue of their experience in airport management,
the Secretary of State may direct that subsection (1) shall not apply in relation to that company. (1B) Any direction given by the Secretary of State under subsection (1A) may provide—
  1. (a) that it is to have effect only for such period, or in such circumstances, as may be specified in it, or
  2. (b) that its continuation in force is to be subject to compliance with such conditions specified in it as the Secretary of State thinks fit.'.—[Mr. Michael Spicer.]

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