HC Deb 03 May 1938 vol 335 cc689-90
28. Mr. Thorne

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether the shadow aircraft factories will receive £300 profit for each aeroplane produced, the Government paying the net cost; and what was the amount paid for the financial year ended March, 1937?

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Earl Winterton)

The payments to the managing firms of £200 or £225 per airframe according to type and of £75 per engine are for their remuneration for acting as agents to the Air Ministry in respect of the management of the shadow factories, these amounts being additional to the net cost of the aircraft and engines. No payments were made in this respect for the financial year ended March, 1937.

Mr. Thorne

Does the Noble Lord think that the amount allowed is excessive or otherwise?

Earl Winterton

No, Sir. I do not think it is excessive. It is rather difficult to explain the details of this contract arrangement in reply to a question, but I would refer the hon. Gentleman to paragraphs 6 to 11 of the Air Services Appropriation Account to be obtained in the Vote Office, together with the Comptroller and Auditor-General's explanation.

Mr. Garro Jones

Is the Noble Lord aware that the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence has several times been asked to make a comprehensive statement to the House, stating the amounts which he has contracted to pay by way of group management expenses to these shadow factories, and can he say when he will be able himself to make that statement having regard to the delay which is now taking place?

Earl Winterton

In view of the complicated nature of the matter, the hon. Gentleman should put down a further question.

Mr. Garro Jones

In view of the camplicated nature of the matter, may we not have a statement? Will not the Noble Lord, at any rate, make a statement showing the amounts contracted to be paid as fixed sums to the management groups?

Earl Winterton

The complicated nature of the question is fully explained in the report to which I have called attention, but I will certainly bear in mind what the hon. Member has said.

Mr. Thurtle

Is the Noble Lord satisfied that, under this system of payment, these aircraft companies are not losing money?