HC Deb 01 February 1939 vol 343 cc187-8
17. Mr. Erskine Hill

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he has any statement to make regarding the recent visit of Mr. Lemon, the Director-General of production to Scotland; and whether he can indicate any further development of the air programme in Scotland?

The Secretary of State for Air (Sir Kingsley Wood)

Yes, Sir. The Director-General of Production visited both Glasgow and Edinburgh at the end of December and discussed the question of Scottish assistance towards the air rearmament programme with the city authorities and leading industrialists. With the cordial co-operation of the Lord Provosts of the two cities, arrangements have been made for exhibitions of air-frame and aero-engine parts to be held concurrently in Edinburgh and Glasgow this month, so that Scottish manufacturers may be able to see at first hand precisely what is required and determine the extent to which they can undertake the manufacture of such parts as subcontractors. In addition, my Department is now in touch with a number of Scottish firms who have applied for inclusion in the Air Ministry list of firms to whom invitations are issued to tender for the supply of items by direct contract. In regard to the last part of the question, negotiations are proceeding for the establishment in Scotland of three maintenance units for the Royal Air Force, in addition to that at Abbotsinch referred to in the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) on 30th November last.

Mr. Kirkwood

Is the Minister aware that we have had two complete stoppages of work within the last six months in the Blackburn aircraft factory in Dumbarton, and that on another occasion the factory was absolutely closed down instantaneously by the management? If so, what explanation can he give for a state of affairs of that character, and will he inquire into the matter?

Sir K. Wood

Of course, I regret all stoppages of that kind, but matters relating to labour questions in the factories are more for the Minister of Labour than for myself.

Mr. Kirkwood

Has the right hon. Gentleman not promised to visit this factory in the immediate future?

Sir K. Wood

I hope to be able to visit the factory if I can find time to do so; in any event I will gladly take into account any representations which the hon. Gentleman may make to me on the subject.

Mr. R. Gibson

Has the Director-General visited and inspected the Caird shipyard, Greenock, and could the right hon. Gentleman say how many Greenock firms are on the list of firms supplying the Air Ministry?

Sir K. Wood

No, Sir, but I will inquire and will communicate with the hon. and learned Gentleman.

Mr. J. J. Davidson

In reference to the right hon. Gentleman's statement about Scottish contractors being asked to tender and quote, may I ask him how many of them have been asked to quote for the seven balloon-barrage systems—six in the North of England and one in Glasgow?

Sir K. Wood

I could not say.

Mr. Davidson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that not one has been asked to quote?

Sir K. Wood

I have said that I could not give a reply.

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