HC Deb 13 December 1939 vol 355 cc1197-8
55. Sir Granville Gibson

asked the Minister of Supply whether his attention has been drawn to a list supplied to his Department by the Association of British Chambers of Commerce of names of 997 contractors and sub-contractors who are available and anxious to assist his Department in various parts of the country; and whether he proposes to avail himself of these offers and in this way to develop all available sources of supply and thereby increase employment?

Mr. Burgin

Particulars of the firms included in the list to which my hon. Friend refers have been noted in the records of the Central Priority Organisation, so as to be readily available for consideration when the need arises for additional capacity of the kinds which the firms might supply. I should expect further that we shall be able to make use of many of the firms who wish to undertake sub-contracting, through the medium of the new area organisation which is being set up.

Sir G. Gibson

Is it not an extraordinary and unsatisfactory state of affairs that while £1,000,000 has been spent upon new buildings and in making additions to other buildings—with Government assistance—there should be nearly 1,000 firms, many of whom must be efficient, whose services have not already been utilised?

Mr. Burgin

The firms, I have no doubt, are efficient. The trouble is that the capacity which these firms offer is not of the character which is required for a munitions programme. Many of them will progressively be brought into the programme as orders for general stores are placed, but with a munitions programme theirs is not the type of capacity which can give quick results.