HC Deb 28 April 1938 vol 335 cc306-8
62. Mr. W. Joseph Stewart

asked the Secretary for Mines the number of men and boys killed and injured in and about the mines in Durham County each year since 1932?

The Secretary for Mines (Captain Crookshank)

As the reply involves a number of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the information:

steps to extend still further the utilisation of the services of skilled woodworkers. It would not, however, be in the public interest to give details at this stage.

Mr. McEntee

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware of the statement that the reason for going off making wood aeroplane frames was that metal is better, but that there is now a very considerable quantity of the type of wood of which the original very good aeroplanes were made and are being made? Will he use that wood and employ the men now unemployed?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

I could not in a question and answer go into the technical details of the relative merits of metal and wood, but I think the fact that my Noble Friend does intend to increase the use of wood for certain types of aircraft indicates that he is aware that it can advantageously be done.

Mr. Sandys

(by Private Notice) asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he can give an assurance that the aircraft expansion programme is progressing satisfactorily according to schedule, and that deliveries are not in arrears?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

As explained in the Memorandum accompanying this year's Air Estimates (Cmd. 5677) the production of airframes was slower in the earlier stages than had been hoped when the programme was planned, for the reasons given on page 7. Deliveries are now generally proceeding according to plan. As stated by my Noble Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on Tuesday the scale on which factories have been extended and laid out and large scale orders placed make it possible, given the additional labour required, to secure a greatly increased output, which will provide not only for the existing programme but also for the further expansion and acceleration which have now been approved.

Mr. Sandys

Is it the fact that the output of the new types of military aircraft is not only not increasing as fast as it had been hoped, but has for the last two months actually been decreasing?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

The hon. Member will see in my answer that I stated that deliveries are now generally proceeding according to plan, and the present plan not only makes provision for a particular number of aircraft, but also makes provision for those aircraft being substantially of new and up-to-date types.

Mr. Montague

Has the Minister compared the figures upon which he bases his reply with the statements made during the Debate in this House yesterday in reference to German aircraft expansion at the rate of 600 major machines a month?

Mr. Boothby

Is it the fact that Germany at the present moment is producing about twice as many machines per month as we are?

Mr. A. Bevan

What was the purpose of inspiring a Private Notice question of this sort when the Minister had nothing whatever to say about it?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

I cannot accept the insinuation in the last supplementary question at all. With regard to the relative strength of Germany, I think it is quite clear from my answer that, having regard to the changed circumstances, we do feel now that the present programme is not sufficient, and it is for that reason that we have made preparations for a substantially increased programme.

Mr. De la Bère

I wonder whether it is satisfactory—I so often wonder.