Royal Ordnance Factories.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 5th August 1942.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Cyril Lloyd Mr Cyril Lloyd , Dudley

I wish I could follow the argument of the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. Hopkinson) on that subject. I should enjoy it if he would come outside with me and discuss the matter. But for the moment I would press the point that this Committee in its work has such a wide field that it is neither up to date nor really performing the exploratory duty which I think the House hoped it might perform. If its functions could be simplified I think it would be more useful. As far as the Ordnance factories themselves are concerned, I welcome the report of my right hon. Friend, who has very properly stressed the difference between these factories and ordinary engineering factories. These factories have had to be built up with a different background. They are not in the true sense production factories at all, and they have many difficulties which are not common to the ordinary factory working on war production. They naturally, therefore, have to be staffed on empirical lines. There is no doubt constantly going on within the Ordnance factory range a gradual improvement in efficiency. I do not see why the Committee should question the fact that the Ministry are doing that work well.

I welcome also my right hon. Friend's general report on the achievements in the general war effort. It is desirable that we should have some means of hearing specific and obvious faults. I do not think that a Select Committee is the right method, because the most glaring fault one hears of is almost always the result of one useless man in a very large core of employment. If you use the committee method, so dear to democracy, the Committee produces the results of its investigation probably long after that man has been removed to some other sphere—and, very likely, has received his due meed of decoration. It would be helpful if the operations of this House in the critical sphere could be more simple and more quickly performed.