HL Deb 03 July 1930 vol 78 cc264-5

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, this is a certified Money Bill, but it may be of interest to your Lordships to hear a brief explanation. This Bill is introduced in order to give statutory authority to the Secretary of State for Air to enter into long-term agreements with regard to civil aviation. Several of these agreements have been made in the past and we anticipate making more in the near future; and it has been felt that it would be more in accordance with constitutional practice if statutory authority could be given to those agreements so as to make them binding upon all the parties concerned during their currency.

The situation up to date has been that the Secretary of State, as President of the Air Council, has made an agreement, a White Paper has been submitted to Parliament and opportunity has been afforded for discussing the financial details of the agreement in a debate on the Estimates. In future very much the same procedure will be followed, although statutory authority is now given to the Secretary of State. In other words both Houses of Parliament will, at the appropriate stage of the agreement that is being entered into and, in the case of the House of Commons, during a debate on the Estimates, be afforded a full opportunity for discussion of the subsidy policy in general and of its particular application to any new agreement. In those circumstances I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2ª. (Lord Thomson.)


My Lords, I rise only to make a suggestion to the noble and gallant Lord opposite. I do not know whether under present legislation he has power to deal with low-flying aeroplanes. If he has not, I suggest to him that this might be an opportunity and that, by an Amendment on the next stage of the Bill, he might acquire powers for the Government to deal with aeroplanes that fly low. I have often seen aeroplanes flying near the place where I live which I have expected to crash into the North Downs on their way to and from the Continent. As we all know, there were two very unfortunate accidents of that kind in the course of last winter. I am aware that it may be said that the Government can deal only with British aeroplanes, which might, therefore, be placed at a disadvantage as compared with foreign aeroplanes which would be able to fly at any height they chose; but I submit that, if it were known that British aeroplanes always flew at a safe height, this might be a real advantage to British companies in getting more passengers rather than the reverse. I submit this as a suggestion.


My Lords, I shall carefully note the suggestion made by the noble Earl. I am not sure that it would be appropriate to put a clause into this Bill, but I entirely agree with him that it is desirable to prevent low flying by aeroplanes, both in the interests of safety and in order to prevent aeroplanes becoming a nuisance. There are regulations already, but whether I can make them statutory or not is another question. I am really ignorant on the point.

On Question, Bill read 2ª, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.