HC Deb 17 April 1940 vol 359 cc970-1
Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware that small manufacturers who have organised into companies at his request, in order to receive contracts for distribution among their members, are still unable to obtain any contracts from the Ministry; and what encouragement he is able to offer to the hundreds of small factories, and thousands of workers, who are deprived of the opportunity of doing their share in the war effort?

Colonel Llewellin

The hon. Member is no doubt referring to the suggestion which has been made that small firms should consider forming groups or associations among themselves so that one of the firms or one authoritative body may be in a position to tender on behalf of the group or association. Although my right hon. Friend cannot of course make use of firms who are not in a position to supply the stores which the Ministry requires, wherever the small industrial establishments have suitable plant and equipment to undertake contracts or subcontracts, every endeavour is being made to utilise them in the war effort.

Mr. Edwards

Can the hon. and gallant Member say why many small concerns which have formed themselves into companies are still unable to get orders? Is he aware that the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Magnay), who is chairman of a Team Valley company, has tried hard to get an order, but that not one of these firms has got a single order?

Colonel Llewellin

I do not think that is quite correct. We are employing a certain number of these firms when we are convinced that they can supply quickly and efficiently the stores we need.

Mr. Paling

If they are qualified to do the work, is it a certainty that they will get orders?

Colonel Llewellin

If it is the kind of work they do, they will certainly be employed.

Mr. De la Bère

Why should not these small undertakings have some consideration?

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