§ 56. Mr. N. CHAMBERLAIN
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether the firm of James Archdale and Company, Limited, Birmingham, machine tool makers, who in normal times employ 500 men, are now only employing 240 men three days a fortnight and that the firm attributes this state of things largely to sales of Government machinery at excessively low prices; and whether he will consider the advisability of holding up further sales so as to avoid increasing unemployment in the machine tool trade of the country?
§ 57. Mr. JAMES WILSON
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether the sales of surplus Government machine tools is adversely effecting trade and employment in the machine tool-making industry; and whether he will take into consideration the advisability of suspending further sales until trade conditions generally have improved?
With regard to Messrs. Archdale and Company, I have no information. I am advised that sales of machine tools by the Disposal Board are being made by auction and tender subject to reserve prices, and that good prices are being obtained. For the reason stated in my reply of the 25th October to the hon. and gallant Member for Basing-stoke, it is not considered advisable to depart from the present policy of selling surplus stores.
§ Mr. A. HOPKINSON
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the present parlous state of this industry in this country is very largely due to the outrageous prices which are being charged by machine tool makers in this country?
§ Sir R. COOPER
Is it not a fact that the majority of these machine tools at the Disposal Board are being sold at breaking-up prices, thereby ruining the industry?
No, Sir. On the contrary, my information is to the effect that the prices being obtained by the Disposal Board are good prices.