HC Deb 22 September 1943 vol 392 cc185-6
25. Mr. Ness Edwards

asked the Minister of Aircraft Production whether the accounting section of his Department has allowed as a cost of production the compensation paid to certain directors of D. Napier and Son, Limited, by the English Electric Company?

The Minister of Aircraft Production (Sir Stafford Cripps)

As the hon. Member is doubtless aware, it is contrary to the normal practice to give particulars relating to individual contracts. I am, however, prepared to say that the answer to his Question is in the negative, although it is proper to point out that the Company have asked that the matter should be reconsidered.

Mr. A. Edwards

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman keep in mind when the matter is reconsidered the fact that one gentleman was paid as compensation an amount equal to his full salary until he reached the age of 103?

Sir S. Cripps

We will bear every matter that is relevant in mind.

26 and 27. Mr. Ness Edwards

asked the Minister of Aircraft Production (1) whether the taking over of a certain factory by the English Electric Company was done with his consent; and whether he is satisfied that the transfer has led to a more satisfactory state of production;

(2) whether the acquisition of the firm of D. Napier and Son by the English Electric Company was conditioned by an undertaking of his Department that the acquisition would result in the passing of the management of a certain factory to the control of the English Electric Company?

Sir S. Cripps

The factory to which the hon. Member refers is one owned by my Department and managed on an agency basis on my behalf by D. Napier & Son, Limited. When a controlling interest in this Company was acquired by the English Electric Company I did not consider that it would be in the public interest to change the agency, and, at my request, the English Electric Company agreed that D. Napier & Son should continue under their new management to act as agents. Although a great deal of re-organisation has been found necessary under the new management, I am satisfied that they are making good progress towards establishing production upon a more satisfactory basis than it was formerly.

Mr. Edwards

Is not the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that there is very grave dissatisfaction at the shadow factory not only at the changes in the management but the manipulation of a London finance house?

Sir S. Cripps

I am not aware of that fact, but I am aware that where a factory has to be reorganised as a result of bad management beforehand there is always a lot of discomfort for the workers.

Mr. Edwards

Is that why the retiring director was given £21,000 compensation?