HL Deb 18 June 1981 vol 421 c755
Baroness Burton of Coventry

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 action they propose to take to create "a better legal framework" [Official Report, 19th May 1981; col. 830] to deal with the problem of discounted air tickets.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade (Lord Trefgarne)

My Lords, a better legal framework might make it easier to mount a successful prosecution, but it would not deal with the problem of discounted air tickets. As I have said so often both inside and outside your Lordships' House, we shall see a reduction in discounting only when, as on the North Atlantic, the airlines can compete freely over fares.

Baroness Burton of Coventry

My Lords, the variety of Answers never ceases to amaze me. I hope that it amazes the House, too. May I ask the Minister whether he recalls that on 4th June at col. 1354, in reply to his noble friend Lord Morris, he said that he would be happy to initiate legislation to clarify the law as a matter of urgency? As the Answer today indicates as always, I am sorry to say, that the Minister and his department have no intention of doing any such thing, may we be told what he does intend to do? In view of his last remarks, may I ask him whether he would be good enough not to hide behind cheap fares to Europe or to America, which is not what I am dealing with, and not to hide behind his international partners as IATA have said that the British Government are failing to legislate on their own laws?

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, if I were to recite again the steps which we have taken and which we are taking I fear that I might unduly weary your Lordships, because I have done so on a number of occasions. The noble Baroness has tabled an Unstarred Question for the week after next, I believe, and I certainly look forward to the chance of giving a full and considered reply on that occasion to the points made by the noble Baroness.

Back to