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Shipping And Air Services

Volume 941: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he encourages the development of new shipping and scheduled air services as an important factor in the nation's transport infrastructure; and if he will make a statement.

Yes, so far as it is for me to do so. But, as the hon. Member knows, my responsibilities relate essentially to inland surface transport.

I thank the Minister for that reply. Does he agree that the new scheduled air and ferry services are an important part of the transport infrastructure, particularly in areas with bad communications? In view of what he said in his reply, is it not unfortunate that in Britain alone of the EEC countries civil aviation and shipping are not the responsibility of the Department of Transport? Is it not worth while reexamining this aspect?

If the hon. Gentleman will advise my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to transfer these matters to me, I shall not quarrel. There is a need to examine these matters as a whole. That is why I am in close consultation with my right hon. Friends about the matter.

Has my right hon. Friend noticed that the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington (Mr. Adley) has only to make one speech attacking a former Prime Minister in order to be promoted? On that basis, should I not be in the Cabinet?

Is the Secretary of State aware that his colleague the Under-Secretary of State reiterated this morning, in Committee, that the Government are pressing ahead with the nationalisation of ports? Will the right hon. Gentleman say loudly and clearly how the creation of a new infrastructure will be helped by nationalisation or by proceeding with a plan which plainly has no support throughout the nation?