HC Deb 21 March 1923 vol 161 cc2530-1

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that out of the money allocated to Woolwich Arsenal for the production of five 16-inch guns the major portion will be expended on tools, forgings, and factory expenses and that only a very small percentage will be available for wages; and whether he will consider the allocation to the Arsenal of further orders for smaller guns, fittings, etc., provided for in the new Estimates?


No, Sir, We have allotted six 16-inch guns, complete with breach mechanisms, to Woolwich, and the cost, while providing, the essential new tools and the usual factory expenses, does not include the forgings. The Ordnance Factory authorities are responsible for the actual expenditure of the money, but I understand that about half of the total amount would be spent directly and indirectly on wages. We have already provisionally allocated to Woolwich as large a share as possible of orders for the manufacture of smaller guns and fittings, together with nearly all naval gun repair work. In 1923–24 the value of naval orders allotted to the Arsenal will be rather more than half that of orders allotted to naval factories and the trade.