HC Deb 27 March 1945 vol 409 c1292
14. Mr. Rostron Duckworth

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has any statistics showing the number and floor area of factories in Lancashire which are still requisitioned by his Department.

Mr. Dalton

About 23,500,000 sq. ft. in some 1,250 factories in Lancashire have been allocated by the Board of Trade to other Government Departments for war production and storage.

Mr. Duckworth

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the earliest de-requisitioning of these factories will play a great part in contributing towards the required increase of so per cent. in our export trade? Could he assure me that at the earliest moment many of them will be de-requisitioned?

Mr. Dalton

Yes, Sir, certainly; I have no desire whatever for storage for its own sake—quite the contrary. I always receive with regret fresh demands from other Departments to provide further accommodation for storage. Nevertheless, it is my duty to meet those demands, and I have done my best to do so. At the same time we have already de-requisitioned in Lancashire, or are in course of de-requisitioning, 23 factories with a floor space of 340,000 square feet. That is only a beginning. I hope we shall be able to carry on doing so.

Mr. Harry Thorneycroft

Were the factories now being used for storage in Lancashire built for production?

Mr. Dalton

All factories were originally built for production, some old and some new.