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State Factories (Minister's Speech)

Volume 387: debated on Tuesday 16 March 1943

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50.

asked the Prime Minister whether that part of the recent speech of the President of the Board of Trade, at Bishop Auckland, in which he said that State factories should be used for peace-time production represents the policy of the Government?

I understand that my right hon. Friend, as reported in the Press, said that State factories should be retained wherever possible and adapted to suitable peace-time production; and that it was particularly necessary to consider those factories now established in the former distressed areas. As the House will remember, my right hon. Friend developed this subject in some detail, when replying for the Government in the debate on Economic Policy on 3rd February last.

Would my right hon. Friend say whether this is the policy of His Majesty's Government; and would he bear in mind that the majority of hon. Members have a definite mandate to oppose any extension of State trading?

My right hon. Friend who debated this matter in the House, was speaking on that occasion for the Government.

Will the right hon. Gentleman have circulated an account of the locomotives that were made at Woolwich Arsenal after the termination of the last war?

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that if, at the end of this war, there is a sale of national property with scandals like those which occurred at the end of the last war, there will be a very great revolt in the country?

Would it not be useful if my right hon. Friend dissociated himself from the majority in his party?

I think it is very mischievous to try to cause disunity about this matter.