asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been directed to the Tutin scheme of assembly-line shipyards; why it was rejected by the Director of Merchant Shipbuilding; and whether he is aware that a similar scheme has been adopted by the United States of America Maritime Commission and has received the support of Admiral Land?
The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Captain Pillkington):
My right hon. Friend's attention has been drawn to the Tutin scheme of assembly-line shipyards, and I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Morpeth (Mr. R. J. Taylor) on 2nd July, 1941. The Tutin scheme of assembly-line shipyards that was submitted to the Director of Merchant Shipbuilding was for large vessels. The assembly method in principle is adaptable to smaller units such as motor-cars, or even to small ships, but it is considered impracticable to attempt to move large vessels such as a vessel of 10,000 tons deadweight along an assembly line,
Is my hon. and gallant Friend aware that this scheme is now in operation in the Higgins assembly yard in the United States; has he seen the correspondence which passed between Dr. Tutin and the Director of Merchant Shipbuilding; were not the replies from the Admiralty very perfunctory, and have they been contrasted with the reply from Admiral Land, which was most courteous?
I cannot agree that the replies were in the least perfunctory. As regards the first part of the Supplementary Question, it is a fact that this scheme is being used to a certain extent in America, but it is being used for small ships and not for large vessels, and our own production of small ships is proceeding satisfactorily.
Is it not a fact that Dr. Tutin has not the practical experience necessary for the lay-out of shipyards; is not the scheme a perfectly well-known one; is it not likely to form the basis of an exorbitant claim; and will the hon. and gallant Gentleman also ascertain who is likely to get a rake-off?
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, and in order that the correspondence may be submitted to the House, I beg to give notice that I will raise it on the Consolidated Fund Bill.