Resources (Allocation)

Oral Answers to Questions — Production – in the House of Commons on 14th October 1942.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Wakefield

asked the Minister of Production whether, having regard to the fact that the national production effort is in many respects approaching its full capacity, he contemplates any, and, if so, what, measures for the more efficient allocation of production resources?

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

Yes, Sir. The proposed measures are first, to spread the demand for power, transport, housing and, above all, labour, more evenly by transferring the key personnel and plant of selected undertakings out of the congested areas. Secondly, I propose a number of measures for dealing with firms whose use of scarce resources is wasteful. In some cases the remedy will consist of a rearrangement of work or of an improvement in management. In others we shall try to secure a more effective use of resources by grouping or by affiliation. Where all else fails we shall prohibit a firm from accepting further orders. This last is a serious step and will be taken only after exhaustive examination, in which the local knowledge of Regional Boards will be a safeguard against mistakes.

In all these measures I shall co-operate closely with my colleagues in charge of the Supply Departments, who are constantly engaged in dealing with various aspects of this problem. As a corollary to these measures, my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has amended the Location of Industry (Restriction) Order in such a way that it is now necessary to obtain a licence for any manufacturing undertaking coming into existence or changing the nature of its activities, whatever its size, and the previous exemption in the case of premises of less than 3,000 square feet has been abolished.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Does this mean that in future contracts are to be sent to where the people are instead of driving the people from one district to another?

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

It means that there will be a general rearrangement all round on the lines my hon. Friend suggested.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Let us be clear about this. For a long time contracts have been sent to some areas where there is very little mobile labour, and other districts have had to supply this labour, and this is causing dissatisfaction. Do I understand that it means a reversal of that policy?

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

I have answered that question. That is certainly one of the aspects we shall have to follow, but there are many others of a similar kind.

Photo of Mr William Oldfield Mr William Oldfield , Manchester, Gorton

Has the attention of the Minister been drawn to the serious state of affairs in one of our most up-to-date production works by virtue of the fact that the management say there is no work? Dissatisfaction is growing among the men and has he made any investigation about it?

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

If I could have particulars, I would be glad to look into it.

Miss Ward:

Are the Government readjusting their strategic difficulties which hampered the distribution of industry at the outbreak of war?

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

I hardly think that that arises out of the present Question.