HC Deb 02 December 1936 vol 318 cc1256-8
47. Mr. A. JENKINS

asked the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence the number of boys between the ages of 14 and 16 years recruited as apprentices to His Majesty's Forces for each year from 1930 to the most recent date, the number recruited from elementary, secondary, and other schools, and the number of applicants who have been rejected because of physical unfitness?

The MINISTER for the COORDINATION of DEFENCE (Sir Thomas Inskip)

The age limits for recruitment as apprentices do not coincide with the limits mentioned in the first part of the question. I have had a table prepared which gives the available information and with the hon. Member's permission I will circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. As regards the second and third parts of the question, I regret that there is no information available.

Following is time table:


The progress of the rearmament programme in regard to the supply of munitions has, in general, proceeded according to estimate, the principal exceptions being the case of airframe production which, as stated recently in this House, is at present slightly behind schedule, and that of shell production by firms not normally em- ployed on such work. In order that the flow of certain supplies shall be maintained until the requisite output is available from British factories, orders have been placed outside this country. Such orders have been placed recently to the value of about £400,000 and include the purchase of certain scientific instruments, and a contract for shell bodies placed in one of the Dominions.


In view of that statement, what method of control is exercised by his Department to supervise costing prices in respect of orders placed abroad?


The same arrangements are made with regard to all contracts, that is to say, the prices paid are based upon costings examinations.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether he anticipates that the lag in aircraft production will be made good in the next few months or whether it is a lag which cannot be made good within the time of the expansion programme?


It is difficult to say whether the lag which has taken place, which is not substantial, will not be made good by a particular date, but I anticipate that there will be no further lag after the preliminary difficulties have been met, as they have been met.


Is the original difficulty with regard to machine tools and gauges now completely overcome?


I am not sure what the right hon. Gentleman means by the "original difficulty" The machine tools which are required cannot be obtained until after a substantial period of time, but the supply is proceeding at the present time and there has been an acceleration as a result of the arrangements made.


What about gauges?


Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will put a question down. The position with regard to gauges is satisfactory.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say anything with regard to the arrangements made with Krupps firm in Germany?

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