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Airport Security

Volume 977: debated on Monday 28 January 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will consider the application of differential air security levies at those airports controlled by the British Airports Authority and others in accordance with actual costs at each.

The Department is reviewing with the industry the present arrangements for financing aviation security measures. One proposal being examined is that the aviation security fund should be wound up and that airports should simply pay for their own security measures. Airports would recover their costs through landing charges and there would be no need for levies to be paid to the Department.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will consider taking steps to return responsibility for airport security to the airlines or alternatively seek tenders from private enterprise contractors.

No. I do not believe it would be right to disturb the present arrangements for carrying out passenger searching unless it was clear that the desired level of security would be achieved at a substantially lower cost.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied that the recent increase in the airport security levy is justified by increased costs; and what steps he proposes to monitor costs so as to minimise future increases.

Yes. The aviation security fund's budget is dominated by wage costs, which rose very substantially indeed following the settlements of the winer of 1978–79. The present levy rate of 85p should have been set last January at 31p higher to meet costs incurred in the current financial year 1979–80. The be needed to cover 1980–81 costs over increase in the rate of levy estimated to that to cover those of the current year is only 20p. The remainder of the increase some 24p is required to pay off the accumulated debts caused by the failure to set an appropriate levy in past years.The Department is reviewing the present financing arrangements to try to improve the incentive to contain expenditure. Manpower levels are kept under regular scrutiny be the Department's aviation security advisers.