HC Deb 21 April 1952 vol 499 cc12-3
22. Mr. Beswick

asked the Minister of Supply to what extent the super-priority given to the production of fighter aircraft will affect the delivery dates of civil air transport machines now in production.

Mr. Sandys

The grant of super-priority for the production of fighter aircraft should have no significant effect on the delivery dates of civil air transport types.

Mr. Beswick

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that, whereas a few military aircraft more or less are unlikely to make all the difference between war and peace, 20 or 30 modern civil aircraft types might make all the difference, if delivered in time, to the commercial aviation future of this country?

Mr. Sandys

I fully recognise the importance of the production of civil types. We are doing everything we can to help firms develop the civil side of their business. All I was trying to make clear to the hon. Gentleman was that there is at present no conflict in factories between the production of civil types and the production of fighter aircraft.

Mr. I. Mikardo

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the real difficulty is not in factories but in drawing offices? Does he know that one of our leading manufacturers has said that he cannot put a single fresh project on the drawing board for two years because of the pressure in regard to military types? How does the right hon. Gentleman reconcile that with his answer to my hon. Friend?

Mr. Sandys

So far as civil types are concerned, the urgent problem is to get into production the very admirable types which are already fully developed and in which we have a substantial lead over other countries.