HC Deb 09 February 1959 vol 599 cc851-2
38. Mr. Mason

asked the Minister of Supply how many unused factories, fully equipped with machinery and kept on a care and maintenance basis, are in areas where unemployment exists; and what consideration has been given to using these buildings and machines for useful productive work.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

There are two such factories in areas listed as unemployment areas by the Board of Trade, one at Girvan and one at Garnock. The plant in both is highly specialised. It is not suitable and could not easily be adapted for any other purpose.

Mr. Mason

In no circumstances whatsoever? Is it beyond the Minister's wit, or the advice and experience of his Department, to ensure that these production lines and the machinery in the factories are so adapted or converted as to produce engineering products for peaceful use?

Mr. Jones

As I have indicated, conversion is very difficult, and, what is more, would defeat one of the objects of these factories, which is to bring in a specialised kind of production at short notice in the event of emergency.

Mr. Osborne

Are there any of these unused Government factories, in areas other than those designated as areas of unemployment, set aside for use for emergency purposes?

Mr. Jones

Yes, Sir. I indicated that in an Answer last week.