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British Overseas Airways Corporation

Volume 388: debated on Wednesday 7 April 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for Air what salaries are paid to the newly appointed directors of British Overseas Airways Corporation; whether they are to give full-time to the work of the Corporation; and whether any of them have financial interests in other forms of transport?


asked the Secretary of State for Air whether the new members of the British Overseas Airways Corporation will follow the precedent of their predecessors of giving their services without remuneration?

The answer to the first part of the Question of the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Burke) is that one of the new members is to receive a fee of £750 per annum. No other fees are being paid. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the negative. As for the third part, I have satisfied myself, as required by Statute, that such interests as the new members have in other undertakings are so remote, or otherwise of such a nature, that they can properly be ignored.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how directors can look after the interests of such a world-wide organisation as this on a part-time basis; and, further, to whom was this fee of £750 paid?

It would be very difficult indeed to find a sufficient number of men of sufficient experience and of the high quality necessary who would give the whole of their time to this work. These gentlemen have, in fact, applied themselves to this work with the greatest industry and energy and have sat nearly every day on the business of the Corporation since they were appointed. Did my hon. Friend ask to whom the fee was paid? To Mr. John Marchbanks.

Can the right hon. Gentleman explain to the House how it is that members who are not paid manage to live? They have no interest in any other form of transport or business, presumably, and will he explain how they live, and who pays them?

Is it a fact that the previous members of the board were not paid salaries?

It is true that the previous members of the board were not paid salaries. In reply to the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes), I do not think that the House of Commons can really expect me to express an opinion on how they live.

Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman to tell the House that these two gentlemen regard this appointment as a whole-time appointment?


asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he has considered a resolution passed by the staff and departmental directors of the British Overseas Airways Corporation, making a suggestion regarding the appointment of a chairman and chief executive officer of the Corporation; and what action does he propose taking in the matter?

The suggestion made by certain members of the staff of the British Overseas Airways Corporation referred only to the office of chairman and has since been withdrawn.

Is it not a fact that though it has been withdrawn by certain members of the staff, departmental directors still adhere to it, that in any case it was only withdrawn because it might embarrass the new board, and that it still represents the collective mind of the staff; and will he give it consideration?

No, Sir. The people who made the representation to me on behalf of the staff have withdrawn it.

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that half the troubles of the British Overseas Airways Corporation are due to "Reith-ism"?