HC Deb 02 February 1944 vol 396 cc1274-5
57. Sir George Schuster

asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware that a firm, of which he has been informed, is being forced to close down by the withdrawal of its labour; whether, in the interests of war production, he will see that this case is reconsidered with due regard to the facts that the firm's total staff amounts to nine men and two women; that they are specialists in the design of a particular type of equipment which requires to be adapted to the needs of each particular case; that the products of this firm, although small in volume, represent a matter of key importance; and that it is desirable to preserve specialist undertakings of this kind as an important factor in British industry.

Mr. Sandys

The decision to discontinue the issue of licences for materials for the manufacture of trailers at this firm is in accordance with the general policy of easing the load in areas where labour is scarce. However, in view of my hon. Friend's Question I am looking into the circumstances of this particular case.

Sir G. Schuster

Will the Minister give us an assurance that he is jealously watching the interests of small firms of this kind, so characteristic of business, and that he will not allow global labour allocations to overwhelm him?

Mr. Sandys

I am very glad to give my hon. Friend that assurance. I entirely agree with him as to the value of these small firms, and I am just as anxious as he is to see that they are fairly treated. I am going into this particular case and will get in touch with him afterwards.

Mr. McGovern

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a large number of these small firms are being closed down and the available labour is being transferred to larger firms?

Mr. Sandys

That is just the point in question.

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