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Machine Tools

Volume 389: debated on Thursday 27 May 1943

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52.

asked the Minister of Production whether he is satisfied that we are utilising the machine tools capacity to obtain the maximum output; and what action has been taken recently to deal with the problem?

I can say that having regard to the many factors which govern production the fullest practicable use is being made of machine tool capacity. This is a matter which receives the constant attention of the Supply Departments. In addition the Machine Tool Control exercises a general supervision of the use of machine tools. The measures adopted for this purpose are described in a reference book which the Control has recently issued for the guidance of contractors and others concerned. I am sending a copy of this book to my hon. Friend.

Can my hon., Friend say whether a recent survey has been made by the Ministry with a view to seeing that machine tools throughout the country are utilised in order to obtain the maximum production?

Yes, Sir, a survey was made recently, and any necessary action is being taken upon it and in fact has been taken.

Is not the complaint in this Question largely due to late realisation by the Ministry of Labour that excessively long hours are not desirable?

Is it not a fact that there is a large surplus of machine tools at the present time, whereas there is a shortage of springs, ball bearings and things like that?

I do not think I could accept the broad generalisation of my hon. Friend. There are some classes of machine tools for which at the moment full use cannot be found, but I do not think they are a large number.

53 and 54.

asked the Minister of Production (1) why so many machine tools are not working at a factory of which he has been informed; why, on the 14th April night-shift, 32 costly machines did not operate; how frequently that has occurred; who is responsible; and what action has been taken to improve the output;

(2) Whether he is aware of the important product being manufactured at a factory, of which he has been informed; that the internal management and the workpeople are efficient and eager; and who is responsible for the failure to obtain maximum production?

I have had investigation made and find that, generally speaking, production at the factory referred to is up to programme. In one section, however, as I have already informed my hon. Friend in correspondence, action to improve machine tool utilisation as a whole has been impeded through a change in production involving modifications in jigs, fixtures and tooling. This cannot be accomplished without some machine tools temporarily standing idle.

In view of the fact that the Ministry of Supply nominated certain directors to run this place and that action has been taken against workpeople when they have been responsible for slackness, can my hon. Friend say what action has been, or is being, taken against the directors who have been responsible for this situation in this firm?

My hon. Friend's Question refers in the main to the utilisation of machine tools. I can tell him that the position has been closely examined and that in so far as it has been possible to make any improvement by removing surplus machine tools, of which there were a certain number there, that action has been taken.

That is appreciated by the men, but in view of the fact that it is the directors who have been responsible for neglect, as has been proved, what action has been taken against them?

I think my hon. Friend ought to give me notice of that question, because what he has put on the Paper does nut refer to management at all.