asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will seek powers to make the possession of third-party insurance compulsory for the owners of light aircraft.
The insurance of light aircraft against third-party risks is the subject of current consultation between my Department, the Civil Aviation Authority and representatives of owners and operators. It would be premature to anticipate the outcome of these discussions.
Does the Minister agree that the financial consequences for a pilot's dependants can be catastrophic if he is not adequately insured in the event of his death while piloting an aircraft or while carrying passengers in an aircraft? What sort of third party cover does the Minister have in mind?
I entirely agree that failure to insure or failure to carry a sufficiency of insurance could have calamitous results. I am concerned about the matter, but the risks that have hitherto been embraced do not seem to cause us to enter into any panic about the situation. As the hon. Gentleman will know, there is absolute liability. What I and the CAA are seeking to encourage is that pilots should take out insurance to a value of £100,000. That, on expert opinion, would seem to be the right sort of figure. I hope that we shall obtain an effective response and that it will not be necessary to introduce legislation.