HC Deb 28 February 1945 vol 408 cc1373-4
50. Sir O. Simmonds

asked the Minister of Production if he is satisfied that the change-over from munitions to civilian consumption of light engineering industries, such as the motor industry, will not be delayed on account of insufficient notice being given to the ancillary industries on which this production ultimately depends.

The Minister of Production (Mr. Lyttelton)

As and when the demands upon the light engineering industries for war production can be reduced, every effort will be made to keep the release of capacity in the main and ancillary industries as far as practicable in step. My hon. Friend will, of course, appreciate that a completely integrated plan cannot be achieved, partly because of the wide variety of products involved and partly because of the need to meet the requirements of the Japanese War. In the motor industry, to which he refers, the problem will be eased by the fact that the manufacturers of motor vehicles in their war production have relied for their accessories to a large extent upon those who used to supply them in normal times.

Sir O. Simmonds

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in Birmingham and in the Midlands these ancillary industries are now being cut down to the point where not only is labour being discharged, but the core of the personnel is having to be cut into; and does not he realise that this will seriously delay the starting of civilian industry when the moment comes; and, therefore, cannot the Government give a decision that the motor industry, for example, can give orders to the ancillary producers so that this unemployment and inactivity need not take place?

Mr. Lyttelton

These are very wide questions which my hon. Friend raises now. I can only say that we will do our very best to keep these two things in step, which is not at all easy.