HC Deb 11 December 1950 vol 482 cc805-6
39. Sir Wavell Wakefield

asked the Minister of Supply if he is aware that, although a number of firms have been warned that their production facilities will be required for the rearmament programme, no orders have been placed and the firms in question are unable to plan their future production; and when will decisions be made to enable orders to be placed and future production planned.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

If we are to give industry as good a forecast as possible of likely demands, which is generally agreed to be desirable, it is inevitable that the forecast cannot be fully backed by immediate orders. I do not know of any specific cases of the sort of difficulty referred to by the hon. Member, and I shall be glad to look into any that he cares to bring to my notice.

Sir W. Wakefield

Does not the Minister realise that many firms in the aircraft and engineering industries have been warned that their production facilities will be required, but that orders have not been placed with them? If orders are not to be placed it is only fair to advise those firms accordingly, because of raw material and other difficulties. Could the Minister do something to remove this uncertainty?

Mr. Strauss

If any firm which is in difficulty for this reason approaches us, we will discuss the situation with them and tell them when they are likely to get the orders. We will do our very best.