Royal Ordnance Factories.

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

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Photo of Mr Lewis Silkin Mr Lewis Silkin , Camberwell Peckham

Redundant capacity was gradually increasing, and it represents the situation at a particular moment. For all I know, the amount of redundant capacity may be slightly higher to-day, because that was the general tendency, but at the time the Report was published the figure was 37 per cent., and I submit that it goes far beyond providing a reason able insurance and that it was never intended to provide this spare capacity to meet such a contingency. If there is to be this spare capacity, why is it limited to filling factories and not extended to engineering and aircraft factories? I suggest that to have 37 per cent. spare capacity in filling factories as an insurance against the unknown is not really applying one's mind to the problem. My right hon. Friend should consider most carefully the recommendations made by the Committee in this respect, and the possibility of closing down, even if it is only a temporary closing down, one or more of the filling factories and transferring the labour. By that means he will attain a very valuable reserve of skilled personnel and skilled management, as well as of machinery.