Re-armament Organisation (Appointments)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Supply – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th March 1951.

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Photo of Mr George Pargiter Mr George Pargiter , Southall 12:00 am, 12th March 1951

asked the Minister of Supply if he is taking any steps to strengthen the higher levels in his organisation to deal with industrial problems arising from the re-armament programme.

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth Vauxhall

Yes, Sir. I have been fortunate enough to secure the services of Mr. S. W. Rawson, Managing Director of John Brown, Ltd., Mr. George Briggs, Assistant Managing Director of Tube Investments, Ltd. and Mr. W. C. Puckey, Director and General Works Manager of Hoover, Ltd.

Mr. Rawson will become Director-General of Machine Tools and the other two gentlemen will be concerned with the production aspects of the re-armament programme on the munitions and air sides, respectively. I should like to express my warm appreciation of the action of the chairman and boards of the companies concerned in placing the services of these gentlemen at my disposal. I am considering further appointments of a similar nature in the near future.

In addition, I have established a panel of experts to deal with the allocation of steel required for the re-armament programme. The panel, as I have already announced, will be presided over by Mr. T. W. Senior.

Photo of Mr George Pargiter Mr George Pargiter , Southall

May I ask my right hon. Friend why he thought it was not necessary to include a prominent trade union representative in this body? May I further ask him whether he is satisfied that these distinguished gentlemen are likely to be more successful in the advice they give to him than would appear to have been the case in certain Departments where private enterprise representatives have been giving advice?

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth Vauxhall

For the type of job which we want these gentlemen to do, the prerequisite is experience in the management of works and on the board of a company, and also some experience in this type of work during the last war. I think the gentlemen concerned, who are all very distinguished, are the most suitable for the type of work I want them to do.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the appointment of these singularly distinguished gentlemen will give great satisfaction to this side of the House? I am glad to congratulate the Minister on his choice.

Photo of Mr Julian Snow Mr Julian Snow , Lichfield and Tamworth

Is my right hon. Friend aware how extremely interested we are in these appointments, and may I appeal to the Opposition not to classify these distinguished gentlemen as "quislings" merely because they work of this Government?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

If I put down a Question, will the Minister give for the information of the House a full list of all the committees which advise his Ministry and act as a link between his Ministry and industry?

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth Vauxhall

I will do my best. They are a large number.

Photo of Mr Somerville Hastings Mr Somerville Hastings , Barking

What proportion of their time will these distinguished gentlemen give to the Government?

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth Vauxhall

The arrangement is that they give all their time, but they are free for a day or two a month if necessary to advise the companies from which they came.

Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

Can the Minister make available to the House, with regard to these new appointments, information concerning whether they will be in an advisory capacity to his Department, whether they will have effective powers with regard to the allocation of machine tools, and to whom they will report—to the right hon. Gentleman or to his Department?

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth Vauxhall

They are advisers to me and they will be responsible for administering the policy which I, of course, will lay down and for which I will be responsible.