Royal Ordnance Factories

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Supply – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th December 1949.

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Photo of Mr Frederick Skinnard Mr Frederick Skinnard , Harrow East 12:00 am, 5th December 1949

asked the Minister of Supply how many Royal Ordnance Factories are now making goods for civilian consumption on a competitive commercial basis; and if it is proposed to close down any of these.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

Twelve of the 21 Royal Ordnance Factories are at present employing some part of their capacity on orders obtained by competitive tender for goods for civilian use. Partly because these orders are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain the general question of the number of Royal Ordnance Factories to be retained is under review, but no decision has been taken to close any one of them.

Photo of Mr Frederick Skinnard Mr Frederick Skinnard , Harrow East

Does my right hon. Friend's answer mean that the policy announced earlier in this Parliament, of using certain Royal Ordnance Factories as standards for various types of civilian production, is now being abandoned?

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

I do not think that any announcement was made in the terms just stated by my hon. Friend. The policy is that where we can obtain civilian orders which pay, or where they are helpful in maintaining war potential, we shall continue to obtain those orders.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore , Ayr District of Burghs

Will the right hon. Gentleman consult those Members of the House in whose constituencies Royal Ordnance Factories are before a decision is taken to close any of them?

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North

As I have said, no decision has yet been made to close any, but we will certainly communicate with such hon. Members if and when such a decision is taken.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington

Is it not encouraging to find a member of the Socialist Party putting down a Question which talks about making goods for civilian consumption on a competitive commercial basis"?

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

That has nothing to do with this Question.