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Air Trooping

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Air Force – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 31st July 1957.

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Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton 12:00 am, 31st July 1957

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether the nationalised air Corporations were allowed to tender for the air trooping contract between Singapore and this country awarded to Airwork and recently extended for a year.

Mr. Ward:

The current contract for air trooping to the Far East and the new contracts which will replace it next September are all long-term contracts and the Corporations were not therefore invited to tender for them.

Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton

Why are the Government so persistent in their campaign not to provide the nationalised air Corporations with the same opportunities for tendering as private firms? Are not Service men entitled to the best possible air trooping facilities quite irrespective of who provides them?

Mr. Ward:

Yes, and there is no reason why they should not be provided with the best possible means of transport by these charter companies, provided the companies are encouraged and not killed.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey De Freitas Mr Geoffrey De Freitas , Lincoln

Will the Secretary of State really look at this matter? Why should not the Service men have the best trooping facilities which can be provided by competitive tender open to all British aircraft?

Mr. Ward:

They will be getting them.

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Lewisham South

Is it not the case that one of the classical doctrines of the Government is to encourage competition? Why is it that in this instance the public Corporations are forbidden to tender by the political acts, discriminatory acts, of Ministers? Why should there be this discrimination merely for the purpose of the Government protecting their friends in private industry?

Mr. Ward:

The policy of the Government has been made quite clear on many occasions, both by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and myself. We believe that the Corporations should concern themselves primarily with the operation of scheduled services.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey De Freitas Mr Geoffrey De Freitas , Lincoln

Will the Secretary of State look again at this matter and consult with his colleagues? It is quite ridiculous that because they are long-term, and, therefore, profitable, these contracts should be given entirely to private companies. Why cannot we have the best that can be produced in British aviation?

Hon. Members:

Answer.

Mr. Ward:

I have already answered that there is no reason on earth why troops being flown by the civil charter companies should not fly in aircraft every bit as good as those which the Corporations can provide.

Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the replies, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.