HC Deb 14 April 1943 vol 388 cc1192-4
18. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the Minister of Aircraft Production whether it was inefficiency on the part of the management of Short Brothers, Limited, which induced him to replace the former directors?

The Minister of Aircraft Production (Sir Stafford Cripps)

Before taking any action with regard to this firm I had had a thorough inquiry carried out by the hon. Member for Walsall (Sir George Schuster) and Mr. Robert Barlow (Chairman of the Minister of Production's Industrial Panel), and it was as a result of their report that I decided it was necessary for me to take some action to safeguard aircraft production. I subsequently decided that it was necessary to change the directorate.

Sir T. Moore

Further to that Question, may we assume that it was because of the obstructive action of former directors that the Government were compelled to take over the shares also?

Sir S. Cripps

There were difficulties which could be solved only by the action which I took.

Mr. Shinwell

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman believe that his action is received with the utmost approbation on this side of the House?

Mr. G. Griffiths

And all over the country.

20. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Aircraft Production why action was taken against Messrs. Short Brothers, Limited; what is to be allowed in cash for each £1 preference share, for each A ordinary 5s. share and for each ordinary 5s. share; and will he publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of the larger holders of shares and the total amount each person, trust, bank, insurance company or nominees are to receive?

Sir S. Cripps

In answer to the first part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 31st March to the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Lipson). As regards the second part of the Question, it is for the Treasury to specify the price to be paid for the shares, subject to the right of appeal given in Defence Regulation 78, paragraph 7. I understand that the Treasury expect to come to an early decision. As regards the last part of the Question, the list of individual shareholders and the amount of their holding can be obtained from the company's file at Somerset House.