HC Deb 14 April 1943 vol 388 cc1218-9
66. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Supply why he decided to strengthen the board of David Brown and Sons; why his representative directors resigned; who are the directors now; and is he satisfied that this firm is being managed in such a way as will enable the workpeople's work to be utilised to the best advantage in the national interest?

Sir A. Duncan

Last summer four out of the five directors of David Brown and Sons (Huddersfield) Limited resigned from the Board although they remained as senior executive officers employed full time by the Company. There was at the same time threatened litigation in regard to the affairs of the Company. My right hon. Friend who was then Minister of Aircraft Production and I felt it necessary, in order to safeguard the position, to make suggestions to the Company as to the constitution of the Board. Those suggestions were adopted. More recently the principal litigants came to terms, but the directors suggested by my right hon. Friend and myself did not feel in a position to submit those terms to the share- holders of the Company and accordingly resigned. The present Board—consisting of Sir Ernest Roney, Mr. Killingbeck and Mr. David Brown—is a temporary one in order to deal with the proposed settlement. In the meantime my right hon. Friend the Minister of Production had undertaken an investigation into the general position of the Company, and he is now in negotiation with the Company as to its future management.

Mr. Smith

Is the Minister satisfied that production has not been affected, in view of the importance of output?

Sir A. Duncan

I am satisfied that production has not been seriously affected, but in any case that is one of the points into which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Production is inquiring.