HC Deb 05 June 1940 vol 361 cc829-30
7. Colonel Wedgwood

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aircraft Production whether special attention is now given to the building of bombing planes; when he expects to be producing at the rate of 200 a week; and whether any start has been made in building planes and training pilots in India, Palestine, Ceylon, South Africa and Dutch East Indies, in all of which countries engineering workshops are available for expansion as well as aerodromes for training?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aircraft Production (Colonel Llewellin)

My Noble Friend is giving the most urgent attention to the production of all types of service aircraft, but it would not be in the public interest to disclose information regarding figures of output. No arrangements have been made by this Department for the production of aircraft in the countries mentioned in the Question, as it is considered that the requirements can better be met from sources of supply at present arranged. As regards the training of pilots, I would refer the right hon. Gentleman to the reply just given to him by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Air.

Colonel Wedgwood

Are we to understand from that that the new Government is taking no steps whatever to develop the production of aeroplanes inside the Empire in view of the great danger of production in this country?

Colonel Llewellin

No, Sir. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman would not be right in assuming that. What we are doing is to get the utmost production of planes where they can be produced as quickly as possible. In the countries named by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman production in any numbers will take considerable time, and we are expanding to the greatest possible extent all the means available and the immediate sources of supply.

Colonel Wedgwood

Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman's Department consider the possibility that this war may go on for years and will his Department take some steps in regard to this question of production?