§ 50. Mr. PARKER
asked the Prime Minister what are the functions and powers of the committee dealing with the control of prices of aircraft consisting of Sir Hardman Lever, Mr, P. Ashley Cooper and Mr. H. G. Judd; what instructions were given to this committee; whether its work has included the consideration of contracts placed with firms as part of the Government's re armament programme; whether the committee has interviewed any of the firms concerned; and whether particulars of costs have been called for and verified in all cases?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for AIR (Sir Philip Sassoon)
I have been asked to reply. As to the first and second parts of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my Noble Friend on 28th June last to a similar question. The answer to the third part is in the affirmative. As regards the fourth part, the committee has had a number of discussions with the industry, and the services of certain gentlemen of wide industrial and commercial experience have been obtained to assist the directorate of contracts in the actual negotiations the individual firms where necessary, whilst the more important cases are being referred to the committee itself. Ai regards the last part, prices have not yet been fixed in respect of the great bulk of expansion orders, but work is in hand on a basis of instructions to proceed which provide that, if it proves impossible to agree a fair and reasonable price by ordinary means, the final price payable will only be determined after completion of the contract and examination by the Ministry's accountants of the books and accounts of the firms concerned.