HC Deb 22 November 1948 vol 458 cc842-3
8. Mr. Albu

asked the Minister of Supply if he will make a statement on arrangements for encouraging standardisation in the engineering industry.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

Yes, Sir. I realise there are limits to the extent to which this process should be carried, but I am convinced—as are my colleagues in the Government responsible for industries which use engineering products—that reduction in variety of engineering products and components could with advantage be taken very much further; I believe this will bring about increases in productivity and a saving in spares and stocks, and will effect very considerable other economies of substantial and lasting benefit to the country.

This is a matter which needs expert investigation and I have therefore decided to appoint a Committee drawn from industry to advise me. The Committee, as well as consulting with the British Standards Institution, who have promised their support, will consult with the makers of the products which come under review, and with the users whose demands for special types of goods set the pace for the makers.

Sir Ernest Lemon has accepted an invitation to be Chairman of the Committee and Sir Ewart Smith, Deputy-Chairman. The names of the other members are:

  • Mr. Stanley Harley.
  • Mr. Jack Tanner.
  • Mr. T. H. Windibank.
I am anxious that this Committee's tasks will not duplicate those of the Committee of the Anglo-American Council on Productivity, set up to examine the development of specialisation in the production of parts and components in the United States and to see to what extent it is applicable in this country. I have accordingly consulted with the British Section of the Anglo-American Council to ensure that there is no overlap and that the two Committees keep in touch. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT the Committee's terms of reference.

Mr. Edgar Granville

Is it contemplated that the standardisation envisaged will be upon the basis of American measurements or British measurements and if it is upon American measurements, will he give an assurance, in view of the possible changes in industry in this country, that British industry will be represented on this Committee?

Mr. Strauss

I do not think either is envisaged. What we have in mind is simplification of types and components and a reduction of the number at present being used.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Does this also apply to agricultural machinery?

Mr. Strauss

Yes, Sir.

Following are the terms of reference: To investigate, in consultation with the British Standards Institution, and appropriate organisations, the methods by which manufacturers and users of engineering products determine whether any reduction in the variety of products manufactured is desirable in the light of technical, commercial and other considerations; to report whether these methods are adequate and what, if any, further measures should be taken by industry or by the Government to ensure that such simplifications as are determined are put into effect.