HC Deb 10 March 1942 vol 378 cc907-8
13. Mr. James Griffiths

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has now received the report of the Essen-don Committee on the Concentration of Production in the Tinplate Industry; what recommendations have been made by the committee; and whether he intends to publish the report?

Mr. Dalton

Yes, Sir. The Committee came to the conclusion that the advantages of a concentration scheme would not outweigh the difficulties, particularly in regard to labour. My predecessor, while accepting this conclusion, made it clear that in view of the surplus capacity existing in the industry, it would be necessary from time to time to authorise the requisitioning of some of the space for other war purposes. I do not propose to publish the report, but it has been circulated confidentially within the industry.

Mr. Griffiths

Will my right hon. Friend consider circulating the report, if not publicly, at least to representatives of public authorities who are concerned with this vital commodity; and are they not entitled to receive the report just as much as members of the industry itself?

Mr. Dalton

I will consider that, but at the present moment the report has gone to representatives of the employers' organisations and of the trades unions concerned. It is not desirable, in my view, to publish the report, because it contains information which would be of value to the enemy with regard to our industrial arrangements in this area, but I will certainly consider the suggestion of my hon. Friend as far as the local authorities are concerned.