HL Deb 12 July 1956 vol 198 cc998-9

My Lords, I beg to ask the second Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

[To ask tier Majesty's Government whether their undertaking given in this House on the 1st February to consider whether the Transport Aircraft Requirements Committee should be stepped up to a higher level has had a result; and whether there exists any Committee which is responsible for reviewing the whole field of military and civil aircraft development and production, and for making recommendations for the most efficient use of our national resources for these purposes.]


My Lords, the suggestion was made in this House on 1st February by Lord Brabazon of Tara that a Committee should be set up, presided over by a Cabinet Minister and including a prominent member of the Opposition and an experienced civilian, to oversee the procurement of large transport aircraft and to reconcile the various requirements before orders are placed. This suggestion has, of course, been very carefully considered. The decision to order a particular type of aircraft is the responsibility of the Airways Corporations and the Minister concerned, and this responsibility could not be shared with the Committee. Its duties would therefore be restricted to an advisory function, and for this purpose we believe that the Transport Aircraft Requirements Committee can give the best advice that is available. Indeed, the structure of the Committee is designed to ensure that advice can be drawn from all sources best qualified to give it.

As regards the second part of the Question, which deals with a much wider field of military and civil aircraft, the task of keeping this matter under review is directly the responsibility of my right honourable friend the Minister of Supply. Indeed, the terms of the Question constitute almost a definition of his responsibilities in the aircraft field.


My Lords, I thank the noble Earl for the Answer he has given, and I imagine that the assurance given to me by the noble Earl, Lord Gosford, in answer to my first Question, will apply to the general field as well—both civil and military.


My Lords, the answer is, Yes.