HC Deb 19 June 1939 vol 348 cc1804-5
52. Mr. J. Morgan

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has concluded his negotiations for an emergency supply of tractors; and whether all the manufacturing firms concerned have agreed to co-operate in the scheme?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

Agreement has been reached with the Ford Motor Company for the supply of Fordson tractors, which will be stored by Ford dealers throughout Great Britain, as part of the national reserve of agricultural machinery. This company is the only one in Great Britain which has the necessary productive and distributive capacity to enable a reserve of tractors of the size contemplated to be rapidly acquired and regularly turned over within a reasonable period. This arrangement does not preclude the possibility of acquiring some additional supplies of tractors from any other manufacturer in this country if suitable arrangements can be made.

Mr. Morgan

Was no attempt made directly to approach known manufacturing firms established in this country other than the Ford Company?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

Certainly there have been conversations with other firms.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Has my right hon. and gallant Friend considered the possibility of laying in a stock of producer-gas tractors in view of the fact that other tractors depend upon imported fuel, whereas the producer-gas tractors depend upon fuel produced in this country?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

The producer-gas is still in an experimental stage, but it is being examined with care.

Mr. Nicholson

May I assure my right hon. and gallant Friend that he is mistaken?

Mr. J. Morgan

Is not the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that there is considerable resentment within the tractor manufacturing industry in this country that they have not been approached, and that possibly that will make them a little indifferent to his scheme in the future?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

As I have said, the arrangement with the Ford Company does not preclude the possibility of acquiring tractors from other manufacturers.

Mr. Morgan

Why does not the right hon. and gallant Gentleman approach the other firms?

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