asked the Minister of Civil Aviation when the regular passenger service to the Isle of North Uist will be resumed and island air mail facilities be extended to this district.
I am afraid that the cost of providing these services would be unjustifiably high in present economic circumstances.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a similar reply was very severely criticised when it was given by the previous Government—quite wrongly, I think—and while appreciating the high cost involved, may I ask him if he is nevertheless aware of the need to improve the air service to this island, which is by far the worst served for transport by sea or air of any of the islands in Scotland?
I appreciate the importance of communications to this part of the United Kingdom, but the fact is that both the high operating costs involved and the cost of bringing the airfields back into operation would, in the present circumstances, not be really justified.
On a point of order. You will have observed, Mr. Speaker, that there are several Questions referring to air services as such. When hon. Members have tried to put down Questions relating to rail services and time-tables those Questions are refused. Can you tell me why Questions are allowed about air services and not about rail services?
The answer about rail services is that the position with regard to Questions on nationalised industries has been referred to a Select Committee, which has not yet reported, and at present a provisional system is being worked. That does not apply to these air services.