After discussion with the Transport Aircraft Requirements Committee last January, my Department concluded that a full-time secretariat is not justified. But the part time secretariat already provided by one of the administrative branches most closely concerned with civil aircraft has been strengthened so that it has more time to concentrate on T.A.R.C. matters.
In view of the extremely harsh criticism of this Committee in the Plowden Committee's Report, can the House be assured that every possible action is being taken by this part-time secretariat to remove the causes for that criticism?
Yes, Sir. I think that the steps which I have mentioned are an answer to the hon. Gentleman's question. We attach a lot of importance to its advice, but it does not take decisions.
Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that not only was the efficacy of this Committee criticised in the Plowden Report, but that some years earlier at was criticised by the Estimates Committee as a result of an investigation? Should not these recommendations for further improvement be taken more seriously?
I do not understand the right hon. Gentleman's question. Some improvement has been made, even if we have not accepted the full recommendations of the Plowden Committee. I might add that it is backed by a strong executive committee within the Department.