asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will take steps to alter the system under which the Ministry of Aircraft Production orders aircraft equipment while the Air Ministry non-technical staff are responsible for ordering spare parts of that equipment; that in many cases the Air Ministry order for spare parts comes along only when the manufacturers have broken down the production and assembly lines; and that aircraft in large numbers are grounded as a result?
The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. Both equipment and spare parts for aircraft are requisitioned by the Director-General of Equipment, Air Ministry, from the Ministry of Aircraft Production, and contracts for their supply are placed by that Department. Spares are, of course, required to maintain obsolescent aircraft in service for training and other purposes after the production of the complete aircraft has ceased; the production of spares is the responsibility of the Ministry of Aircraft Production.
If I send the right hon. and gallant Gentleman a list of spares which have been ordered by Air Ministry officials long after the orders for the original equipment have been finished, will he undertake to take some disciplinary action against the officials who have given him that erroneous information?
asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that the failure to order spare parts for aircraft at the same time that orders are placed for new equipment still persists despite the assurances to the contrary given to the House in July last; that these oversights are largely due to the system under which the Ministry of Aircraft Production is responsible for ordering the main production and the Air Ministry for ordering the spares; and what steps he is taking to prevent aircraft in large numbers being grounded as a result?
I am not aware of cases of failure to order an initial supply of spare parts for new type aircraft when orders for the aircraft are placed. The second and third parts of the Question do not therefore arise.
Here again I have a list of spare parts which have not been ordered at the time the orders for the main equipment were placed, and in view of the fact that the House has repeatedly had false assurances from the Prime Minister on this matter, if I send the right hon. and gallant Gentleman a list to substantiate the points made in my Questions, will he undertake to take disciplinary action against those who have given him the wrong information?
I cannot accept that the House has been given wrong information by the Prime Minister or by my Department in this particular matter. I will certainly look carefully and fully into any point the hon. Member brings to my attention, but it may well be that further spare parts have been ordered subsequent to the initial order for spare parts given with the order for the aircraft.