HC Deb 20 May 1954 vol 527 c2290
48. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Prime Minister if he will recommend a Royal Commission before which evidence can be taken on oath with sittings held in public to inquire into the costs of the nationalised boards, and to report on ways in which economies can be made.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. A Royal Commission with evidence on oath is certainly not the right kind of body for the examination of the nationalised industries. Following the debate of 8th February last about ways of increasing the opportunities of Parliament to scrutinise and discuss the affairs of the nationalised industries, the Government are considering what the next step shall be.

Sir W. Smithers

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his answer, may I ask if he is aware that at present hon. Members are unable to ask questions about the maladministration and waste of public money by the nationalised industries, and will he do his utmost to do away with this piece of Socialistic folly as soon as possible.

The Prime Minister

I think that I should add more to controversy than to the information of the House if I were to answer that supplementary question.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the Prime Minister suggest to the hon. Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers) that he should read the annual reports of the nationalised boards, where he will find full information about their costs of production and a record of constantly increasing efficiency.

The Prime Minister

I am sure that my hon. Friend will have heard the statement which has been made.

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