HL Deb 27 October 1966 vol 277 cc365-6

3.0 p.m.


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

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking during the foreign currency restrictions on travel to encourage the maximum number of British subjects to travel by United Kingdom airlines and ships.]


My Lords, it is not the policy of Her Majesty's Government to discriminate in favour of United Kingdom airlines or shipping companies or against foreign airlines or shipping companies. But I should have thought the country's balance-of-payments situation would persuade British travellers of their own accord to prefer the services of their national carriers.


My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for that reply, I should like to ask whether the Government are aware that Mr. Murphy, the Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board of America, two weeks ago in Seattle proposed that American airlines should adopt this procedure, and that American offices of airlines abroad should refuse to sell tickets to anyone except those travelling with American airlines. If that procedure were adopted by the United States, could I have the Government's undertaking that we should reciprocate?


My Lords, the answer with regard to the latter part of the question is, No. It has paid us to adopt a non-discriminatory attitude to both shipping and air services. Perhaps I may say that in 1965 British shipowners received £55 million from overseas passengers, as against £10 million paid by British residents to overseas ship-owners, giving a favourable margin of £45 million. Similarly, the favourable margin for air services in 1965 was £44 million. In answer to the first part of the question, I would say that we are against this kind of discrimination, and we oppose it whenever we possibly can. It does not pay us.


My Lords, could the noble Lord tell me what proportion of the figures he has given was in fact from the sterling area, and what proportion was from outside the sterling area? I am not particularly interested in how much was from this country. I am interested in the sterling area, as such.


My Lords, that is a currency matter, and I think the noble Lord had better put down a separate Question on it.

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