HC Deb 14 December 1937 vol 330 cc984-5
55. Mr. Mander

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether, in view of the fact that, as disclosed in the second report from the Committee of Public Accounts, 1937, a fixed minimum profit of 5 per cent. is allowed to all Air Ministry contractors, he is now able to state what maximum profit is permitted?

The Under-Secretary of State for Air (Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead)

Reference to the minutes of evdence given before the Public Accounts Committee and to the report issued will show that the minimum profit of 5 per cent. referred to by the hon. Member is not allowed, as he states, to all Air Ministry contractors but only in certain circumstances. There is no prescribed maximum, and the rate of profit which can reasonably be allowed is left for determination according to the circumstances of the particular case.

Mr. Mander

Can the Under-Secretary say what is the maximum profit ever yet permitted in a single case?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will put that question down.

Mr. Garro Jones

Having regard to the great public anxiety on this question, and the confusion which surrounds the system under which the Air Ministry operates, will the Under-Secretary consider making a public statement on the state of the Air Ministry's financial relations with contractors, before the House rises for Christmas?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

I think the hon. Member will find that the system under which contracts are made has been explained to the House on a good number of occasions. Owing, of course, to the very exceptional conditions of the expansion programme, exceptional measures have had to be taken for making contracts.

Mr. Garro Jones

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that, while the system has been explained to the House, the extent to which that system has been put into operation has not been disclosed to the House; and that that is a matter which is causing a good deal of public inquiry and anxiety?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

The system is being operated as it has been explained to the House.

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