HC Deb 08 November 1944 vol 404 cc1355-6
48. Sir O. Simmonds

asked the Minister of Production to what extent he is responsible for the change-over of production from war to civilian requirements.

Mr. Lyttelton

My function is to coordinate the work of the production Departments, in order to secure that our war needs are fully and efficiently met. It follows that I have a general responsibility for planning and concerting the release of resources as these can be spared from war production. In so doing I shall, of course, be working in close consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and the Supply Ministers. Our object will be to ensure that resources are released in such a way as to meet, so far as possible, the requirements of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade and the other Ministers who will be responsible for making use of them in civil industry.

Sir O. Simmonds

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a feeling of grave indecision in this whole matter; and could he give the House any idea of when there will he a coherent policy on the part of His Majesty's Government, which industry can operate, for the benefit of both the morale of the workers and the export trade of the country?

Mr. Lyttelton

My hon. Friend will realise that there are a number of uncertainties, which I cannot resolve, and that until they are resolved a very precise answer cannot be given. One of the uncertainties is when the war with Hitler will end.

Mr. A. Edwards

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman help the industrialists? At present the position is that when one applies to the Board of Trade one is sent to another Department. Is it not a fact that the Minister of Production is responsible for allocating materials to people who want to get on with jobs of post-war production?

Mr. Lyttelton

Raw materials for preparatory work on production and so forth are being released, on application to the Board of Trade. They are not the bottleneck for this type of work.

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