HC Deb 24 July 1940 vol 363 cc803-4
47. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Supply whether there is a plan to bring about the efficient organisation of the whole engineering and allied industries and a great acceleration of output; when it is intended that the resources shall be organised that will enable the peak of production to be attained; when a systematic priority policy is to be introduced; and what action is being taken on the evidence provided by men who know the supply industries at the conferences called by the Minister during the past few weeks?

The Minister of Supply (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

Yes, Sir. The full capacity of the engineering and allied industries is being directed as rapidly as possible to achieve full acceleration of output and maximum production for war purposes. Priority arrangements are being dealt with systematically under the direction of the Production Council. In regard to the last part of the Question, I can assure my hon. Friend that special attention has already been directed to suggestions arising out of the recent conference with representative industrialists. Other aspects of the matter are being dealt with in an answer by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to-day.

Mr. Smith

Is the Minister aware that great concern has been expressed by managerial and administrative sections as well as workpeople because organisation is not taking place leading to the peak of production, and will he take early steps in order to allay this feeling?

Mr. Morrison

If my hon. Friend will listen to the answer which is to be given, he will see that steps have been taken.

Mr. Shinwell

Has the Minister any reason to believe that there are some munition factories, which need not be specified, where men are receiving full wages, but, for some reason or other, are not working full time, and if he has any reason for believing that that is so, will he take the necessary action?

Mr. Morrison

If I find that that is the case, I will. They may or may not be factories under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Supply.

Mr. Leach

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that an official film is being shown in the leading London cinemas which seems to indicate that the Ministry is overworking girl workers in these factories almost to the point of death?