§ Mr. Redmond
To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what action he is taking to preserve the Battle of Britain Flight Supermarine P.R. XIX Spitfire; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Dorrell
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence is responsible for the operation of the Battle of Britain Flight. However, under the export control system, an export licence will be required from my Department if an owner wishes to export the aircraft, if it was manufactured or produced 50 years before the date of exportation and if it is valued at or above £39,600. In such a case there would be an opportunity for an objection to the export to be raised on the grounds that the Spitfire was of national importance under the Waverley criteria and for a decision on the export licence application to be deferred to enable a compensating offer to purchase to be made to retain the Spitfire.