§ Mr. ROSE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions if he will cause to be prepared and issued a full statement of the transactions of the Machine Tools Department of the Ministry of Munitions, setting forth the cost and method of distribution of machine tools, the conditions under which controlled firms have obtained them, and details of the numbers and cost of machine tools supplied to our Allies during the War; and will he outline the policy of the Government in respect to the final disposal of all machine tools produced and distributed under the control and direction of the Ministry?431W
The main function of the Machine Tool Department of the Ministry of Munitions during the War has not been the production and distribution of machine tools by direct Government agency, but the general control of the industry with a view to increasing the supply of machines for urgent war work. It has been left to the machine-tool trade itself to supply the machines under the general supervision of the Department. The reply to the second part of the question is that surplus machine tools are disposed of either by auction or by tender after the fullest publicity. The only exceptions to this general rule are the cases where contractors have an option to purchase certain tools under their contract with the Government. In these cases the machines are disposed of by private negotiation.