Gavin Strang MP has called on the government to take the current window of opportunity to walk away with dignity from the privatisation of National Air Traffic Services (NATS).
Speaking in advance of Wednesday’s House of Commons debate on the Transport Bill, Gavin Strang said in Edinburgh today:
‘The future of National Air Traffic Services is in the balance.
‘The House of Lords has voted for two amendments to the NATS privatisation plans in the Transport Bill – one to delay the privatisation, and one to protect staff pension entitlements.
‘This gives Ministers a great opportunity to walk away with dignity from the privatisation of NATS.
‘After all, there is a backlog of legislation that the Government is trying to get through Parliament – so much so that the Queen’s Speech has been delayed until December. Ministers could decide to drop NATS privatisation to help facilitate passage of the remainder of this session’s legislation.
‘I very much hope that the Government will take this opportunity. NATS privatisation is deeply unpopular with NATS staff, with the public, with airline pilots and with the All Party Transport Select Committee who described it as the ‘worst of all the possible options’.
‘Britain’s air traffic control system is the best in the world. Privatisation is being pursued for financial reasons – nobody believes that it will make our skies safer.
‘Privatisation also raises national security concerns – probably the reason no other country apart from Fiji has privatised its air traffic control. Not the US, and not in the EU.’