HC Deb 27 November 1950 vol 481 cc792-3
77. Mr. Watkinson

asked the Minister of Supply when it will be possible to give industry a clear picture of its task in connection with rearmament.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

It is not yet possible to give industry a detailed picture of its task, but consultations with organisations representing industry in general and also the various sections of industry likely to be particularly affected are going on. I understand that my noble Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty has taken similar action in regard to the shipbuilding industry.

Mr. Watkinson

Is it not true that there are large sections of industry which are completely in the dark about what their commitments may be, yet who have, at the same time, to carry out their present orders? Does the Minister appreciate that, unless industry is given rather more information, he will not get the result which he wants?

Mr. Strauss

We give all industries as much information as possible. We have been in constant consultation; we tell them everything we know.

Mr. Watkinson

Will the Minister think again, because that is not the picture as I see it?

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Is the Minister aware that, at any rate in the Birmingham and Midlands area, there is a general absence of the feeling that industrialists are being consulted by the Government, and that that much increases their anxiety about the difficulty of obtaining raw materials?

Mr. Strauss

I and the officials of my Department have met all the trade associations mainly concerned and have discussed rearmament problems with them.