HC Deb 08 November 1944 vol 404 cc1353-4
46. Sir George Schuster

asked the Minister of Production whether, having regard to the important facts brought to light by the Report of the Cotton Textile Mission to the U.S.A., he will arrange for similar examinations to be made in regard to other important industries for the purposes of testing British methods, standards of equipment and productivity.

The Minister of Production (Mr. Lyttelton)

Examination of the efficiency of our war-time industries against the background of American experience has been a continuous process. I would point out that the Cotton Textile Mission, whose Report it proved possible to publish, was primarily concerned with the meeting of essential war-time requirements. If my hon. Friend is suggesting that the Missions should be sent out now for peacetime purposes I can assure him that my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, and my other colleagues concerned with peace-time industry, will be ready to take any opportunities that may occur of encouraging the formation of such Missions at the appropriate time.

Sir G. Schuster

Does my right hon. Friend realise that the distinction he has drawn between peace-time purposes and war-time purposes is quite unreal? Is he aware that this Report has come as a great shock to public opinion, and that the public want to know what is to be done about the Report, and the conditions of other industries?

Mr. Lyttelton

My responsibilities in this matter are concerned with war-time production, and I have already answered that where appropriate occasions arise, we will take the opportunity of sending Missions.

Mr. Buchanan

Would the Minister kindly give us the answers in the House of Commons, and not keep them for weekend conferences of the Tory Party?

Mr. Shinwell

Why should the right hon. Gentleman be so diffident in his replies when answering back benchers, and so bold and audacious when he is speaking in the country?

Mr. A. Edwards

On a point of Order. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that he is not responsible for post-war production, but is it not a fact that no one can build a factory for post-war production without the consent of his Department?

Mr. Lyttelton

The point I was answering was that I was not responsible primarily for sending Missions on post-war subjects to the United States.

Sir G. Schuster

In view of the important issues raised in my right hon. Friend's reply, which affect the responsibility of Government Departments, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment.