HC Deb 27 October 1943 vol 393 cc169-70
22. Mr. Ralph Etherton

asked the Minister of Aircraft Production whether he is aware that the auditor's certificate and letter attached to the accounts of the Trafford Park Civil Defence Executive Committee for the year ending 31st August, 1943, indicated that various expenses borne by occupiers ought to be paid by the Ministry of Aircraft Production; and what action he proposes to take?

The Minister of Aircraft Production (Sir Stafford Cripps)

I am aware of the suggestion made by the auditors that part of the cost of the central management of the Joint Civil Defence scheme on the Trafford Park Estate should be borne either by my Ministry or by some other Government Department. The suggestion related to the cost of compiling the individual occupiers' accounts under the scheme, and appears to have been founded on a misapprehension since such costs are the responsibility of the occupiers themselves. I propose, therefore, to take no action.

Mr. Etherton

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that these joint schemes run by his Department are wasteful and expensive and, if they continue to be run by his Department, will he investigate whether it would not be proper that the cost should be borne by the Department and not by individual occupiers?

Sir S. Cripps

No, I am not aware of that. The joint schemes are more efficient from the point of view of fire prevention.

Sir Herbert Williams

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman not aware that those who have examined the schemes are satisfied that they merely add to the expense and diminish the efficiency and call for the provision of unnecessary staff at the Ministry for the job?

Mr. Austin Hopkinson

Is it not a fact that these charges, ultimately though not directly, must be met by the Ministry?

Sir S. Cripps

Ultimately they will be met by the Ministry.

Mr. Etherton

Does not that make it even more unfair for independent firms not under the Ministry?