HC Deb 28 April 1947 vol 436 cc1505-6
1 and 17. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Supply (1) if he will indicate the type of priority that has been given to electric power plant and power house construction; how many hours a day are worked; and how many shifts are engaged on the power house supplies;

(2) if he will give a report of the meetings which he has held with representatives of industry who are manufacturing electric power plant and all that is required for the construction of power houses; and if he will make a statement on the speeded-up programme of electric plant supplies, on how many times the heavy plant committee met during 1946, on the old and new delivery dates, on the old and new dates on which it is intended that the new power houses will be in production and the proposed increase in kilowatts each year until the needs are met.

The Minister of Supply (Mr. John Wilmot)

Four meetings of the Heavy Electrical Plant Committee were held in 1946. Two have since been held under my chairmanship, and as a result, a progressing organisation has been set up to help manufacturers in overcoming production difficulties; the highest priority has been given to the supply of labour and essential materials needed for the manufacture, installation and repair of plant; and arrangements have been made to ensure that export orders do not inter- fere with home requirements. The number of shifts and hours worked varies considerably and details are not available centrally. It is too early yet to say the extent to which delivery dates will be improved by these arrangements.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Is it a fact that the gap between production and the peak load will not be bridged for two or three years, and if that is so, is it not a serious state of affairs? Will my right hon. Friend undertake to have investigations made in order to see if the programme can be further speeded up?

Mr. Wilmot

I can assure my hon. Friend that every effort is being made to do everything possible to speed this programme to the maximum extent and an investigation is made into that very thing every time the Committee meets.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Germans and Italians were mainly responsible for dealing a deadly blow at our economy; and in view of our difficult economic conditions, will he agree to consider the need to bring over German and Italian engineers in order that they can make their contribution to the economic rehabilitation of Britain?

Mr. Wilmot

I certainly will be very willing to have such proposals considered.

Mr. Frank Byers

Can the Minister tell us upon what date this progressive organisation was first established?

Mr. Wilmot

The first day it met when it was reconstituted. I think that was about two months ago.

Mr. Alfred Edwards

Is my right hon. Friend aware that these power stations, when the machinery is finished, will not be able to operate without a special type of flooring being made for them, and that the floor manufacturers are not yet receiving similar priority? Will the Minister look into that matter?

Mr. Wilmot

Yes, Sir.

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