HC Deb 26 January 1960 vol 616 cc17-9
27. Sir P. Roberts

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the appointment of the committee which is to examine certain aspects of methods of machine tool production.

Mr. J. Rodgers

Yes, Sir. I am glad to be able to say that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation has agreed to the appointment of Sir Steuart Mitchell, Controller of Guided Weapons and Electronics as the chairman of a small sub-committee which will have the following terms of reference: To consider the Report by Professor Melman prepared for European Productivity Agency Project No. 420, and to report to the Machine Tool Advisory Council what action could usefully be taken by the United Kingdom machine tool industry on his recommendations. I am circulating the list of members in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Sir P. Roberts

In making any further announcements on this subject, will my hon. Friend specially emphasise the high quality and high reputation of British machine tools throughout the world?

Mr. Rodgers

I think we had better await the findings of this particular sub-committee.

Mr. Lee

Could not the hon. Gentleman short-circuit a great deal of this by agreeing to publish the Report of the D.S.I.R. which investigated the machine tool industry? Why cannot we have that information now?

Mr. Rodgers

That particular question has been answered previously by my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Jay

Can we, at least, be sure that this new report will be published?

Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Mr. Albu.

Mr. Jay

Mr. Speaker, I think I asked a reasonable supplementary question, but no answer has been given.

Mr. Speaker

The Minister showed no signs of desiring to answer. In the circumstances, I called the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu).

Mr. Rodgers

I am quite happy to answer. The proceedings and reports to the Machine Tool Advisory Council are confidential so that members may express their views frankly; but, when the appropriate time comes, there will be a public statement on the findings of the sub-committee.

Mr. Albu

Can the Minister say whether the report of this sub-committee will be published, how soon we are likely to receive it, and whether the membership of the sub-committee includes users, including those many users who are highly critical of the British machine tool industry?

Mr. Rodgers

It is expected that the sub-committee will complete its work during the next four or five months. As the hon. Gentleman will see if he looks at the list of members, users are included on the sub-committee.

Mr. Gaitskell

What objection can there be to the report of this sub-committee being published? Does the hon. Gentleman realise that a refusal to publish a report of this kind can create only the worst suspicions in people's minds that something is seriously wrong with the machine tool industry? Is it not far better in these matters to be completely open and frank?

Mr. Rodgers

I think the right hon. Gentleman had better await the findings of this particular sub-committee and the statement which will eventually be made as a result of its deliberations.

Following is the list of members: The membership of the sub-committee which has been set up to examine certain aspects of methods of machine tool production is as follows:—
  • Sir Steuart Mitchell, K.B.E., C.B., Controller of Guided Weapons and Electronics, Ministry of Aviation (Chairman).
  • Mr. R. W. Asquith, Asquith Machine Tool Corporation Ltd.
  • Mr. W. J. Carron, Amalgamated Engineering Union.
  • Colonel C. W. Clark, D.S.O., O.B.E., M.C. Alfred Herbert Ltd.
  • Mr. R. C. Giggins, General Electric Co. Ltd.
  • Mr. E. T. Grainger, O.B.E., Board of Trade. Mr. J. G. Lloyd, Vickers-Armstrongs (Engineers) Ltd.
  • Mr. J. B. L. Munro, C.B., C.M.G., Board of Trade.
  • Mr. R. D. G. Ryder, Thomas Ryder & Son, Ltd.
  • Mr. A. Siddall, Joseph Lucas (Electrical) Co. Ltd.
  • Mr. K. D. Rogers, Board of Trade (Secretary).