HC Deb 26 June 1940 vol 362 cc446-7
34. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Supply whether he can explain and give reasons for the situation in regard to machine tools dealt with in the sixth report from the Select Committee on National Expenditure, page 16, paragraph 38; whether the report has been considered; and whether he is satisfied with the present position and arrangements?

Mr. H. Morrison

The delay in proceeding with the expansion of a factory for the production of machine tools, to which the Select Committee refer in paragraph 38 of their report, was due to the difficulty in arriving at suitable arrangements with the company concerned. The original proposals could not be accepted and the drastic modifications which were necessary took a considerable time to negotiate. The scheme of expansion was re-cast on a short-term basis, and work on it is now proceeding. As regards the second part of the Question, I have recently taken steps to strengthen the staff responsible for the control of machine tools and, in order further to assist the Controller, have delegated to him my power of requisitioning machine tools. I fully appreciate the importance of close and continuous contact between the Departments concerned, and shall watch carefully the arrangements devised to secure it.

Mr. Smith

There are several matters which arise out of that answer, but they cannot be dealt with by way of Supplementary Questions.

Mr. Ammon

What is meant by "suitable arrangements"?

Mr. Morrison

That is a matter of detail, and it has been done. It had been under the consideration of the Ministry for some time before I was there. That has been settled. I have made certain changes in the machine tools department.