asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether if a firm, under instructions from a Government Department, dismantles plant and machinery and instals it at its own expense in a requisitioned factory, the expense of reinstallation in the original or some other factory at the end of the war will be borne by the Government?
I presume that my hon. Friend is referring to the removal, under dispersal schemes, of contractors' plant and machinery which is utilised on Government contracts. In such cases the general policy is that all costs of dispersal should be finally borne by the Exchequer, except that of dismantling and re-erecting the plant. It is not, however, part of the policy to undertake to reinstate the dispersed plant in the original or other premises at the end of the war.
Why should not the Government be responsible for the reinstallation of plant and machinery when it has been taken from a factory of which a firm has been dispossessed?
It is a question of allocation, and the Government are in fact undertaking a very large measure of responsibility in this matter. I think I can also say that the matter will obviously have to be further considered when the time comes.
Does my right hon. Friend consider it fair and equitable treatment, playing the game, and giving a square deal, that plant should be taken from premises into other premises, and then when it returns to the original premises the firm has to bear the total cost of reinstallation?