asked the Minister of Production whether he is aware that a large number of machine tools from America are still unallocated and are lying in stores; that machine tools now being manufactured in this country are being sent into store; that the production of machine tools and the placing of orders for machines continue uninterruptedly; and what steps he is taking to obviate surplus production?
Unallocated new British and American machine tools, of which the large majority are British, amount to only a small fraction of a year's supply. Of the machines in stores some are held available to meet requirements for the replacement of worn out and damaged machines: while a small number go into store as a result of changes in production programmes with consequential changes in the type of machines required. As in other forms of business, a small stock of machine tools is essential to secure prompt replacement and flexibility.
In view of the fact that it is a little difficult to reconcile that answer with the fact that there are over 8,000 machine tools in the hands of either stockists or agents, and that I do not think we shall be able to make much progress, will my right hon. Friend consent to receive some representations from me afterwards?