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Merchant Shipbuilding (Research Organisation)

Volume 389: debated on Wednesday 12 May 1943

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asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what steps have been taken towards implementing recommendations 18 and 19 of the 17th Report of the Select Committee on National Expenditure that an organisation should be established for directing and co-ordinating all research and development relating to merchant Shipbuilding?

Recommendations 18 and 19 of the 17th Report of the Select Committee on National Expenditure deal respectively with the appointment of a technical intelligence staff and the selection of one firm as leader for each part of a ship. The proposal to establish an organisation for directing and co-ordinating development and research to which the hon. Member refers is contained in Recommendation 17.After very full consideration the Admiralty are unable to accept the Committee's conclusion that the present arrangements for the direction and coordination of research in respect of merchant shipbuilding are unsatisfactory. The existing organisation which deals with this matter in the Department of the Director of Merchant Shipbuilding works in the closest co-operation with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, including the National Physical Laboratory, the Admiralty Director of Scientific Research and other Admiralty Departments concerned, the survey staff of the Ministry of War Transport, the classification societies, the technical staffs of the various shipbuilding firms, and other authorities who are able to afford assistance in the various problems which arise from time to time. By means of this elastic organisation decisions on problems concerning the war-time production of merchant ships can be taken with the rapidity necessary under present conditions when the results which are of importance are those which must be achieved in the immediate future rather than a number of years hence. A reply to the Report of the Select Committee is now on its way back to the Committee.