§ 18. Mr. A. Edwards
asked the Minister of Aircraft Production why, shortly after his talk to a Stockton-on-Tees factory producing aeroplane propellers, orders were reduced and production cut down considerably whilst at the same time a London factory not previously producing them has received orders for propellers; and if he is aware that some of the labour 164 employed at the Stockton factory has now been declared redundant.
§ The Minister of Aircraft Production (Sir Stafford Cripps)
The Stockton-on-Tees factory are engaged on sub-contracts for the manufacture of wooden blades for aeroplane propellers according to a process developed by the London firm referred to. Owing to a change in the type of propellers required for certain aircraft it became necessary to reduce the rate of output of the wooden blades in question. Orders had already been placed with the London firm and these orders were cut down at the same time as those of the Stockton-on-Tees firm. Contrary to the suggestion in the hon. Member's Question no further orders were placed with the London firm. The answer to the last part of the Question is in the affirmative, but I understand that the redundant labour has been re-absorbed in other production.
§ Mr. Edwards
Does the Minister realise how depressing it is to the people to whom he spoke in such inspiring terms to find that, shortly after his visit, the output per shift was halved and the cost, of course, correspondingly increased, and that those people were for long periods sitting around with hardly any work to do?
§ Sir S. Cripps
I fully realise that it is always depressing when programmes are changed but, unfortunately, for the purpose of both economy and efficiency, it is necessary to change programmes.