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Ministry Of Supply

Volume 415: debated on Monday 12 November 1945

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Rotol Ltd, Gloucester

77.

asked the Minister of Supply and of Aircraft Production what steps he is taking to prevent large numbers of men employed by Messrs. Rotol, Limited, at their works at Cheltenham Road, Gloucester, from being dismissed in consequence of a change of policy on the part of the directors with regard to the work to be done at this factory.

The discharges referred to by the hon. Member arise primarily from a reduction in war contracts. I am aware of the fact that the policy of the company has been under reconsideration by the directors, and discussions are taking place between my Department and them.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it is the change of policy which is the principal cause of the reduction, and, as large numbers of the men have entered into commitments connected with the buying of houses and so on, will he do what he can?

Yes, that is being looked into, but the discharges are caused by the reduction of war contracts.

Carbon Rods

79.

asked the Minister of Supply and of Aircraft Production whether he will in the post-war period consider the continuance of the use of reclaimed carbon rods which have proved satisfactory during the war and thereby release newly manufactured carbon rods for export to the value of some £1,200 per week.

Reclaimed carbon rods are unsuitable for use in automatic battery making machines and are used only by the small number of manufacturers who still employ hand methods. Reclaiming used rods takes more labour than making new ones. It is expected that the production next year of new rods will be sufficient to meet home needs and leave a balance available for export.

Were not reclaimed rods used for Air Force purposes during the war, and if they are good enough for Air Force purposes in wartime are they not good enough for civilian purposes afterwards?

I am advised that they cost more to make than new ones, and that the new ones are more satisfactory.

Optical Lenses

80.

asked the Minister of Supply and of Aircraft Production if he is aware of the shortage of optical lenses and the consequent long delays in the delivery of orders for spectacles; and what steps he will take to improve the position.

Yes, Sir. I am doing my best to reduce these delays. I know what they mean. Despite shortage of labour the production of spectacle lenses is already back to the pre-war level. The floating stocks which suffered badly in the blitz and are necessary for the rapid execution of orders are being built up again.

Requisitioned Premises, Harrow Weald

82.

asked the Minister of Supply and of Aircraft Production what steps he proposes to take to render effective the notices to quit of 3rd September and 6th October, respectively, on the tenant his Ministry installed, in 1941, in the requisitioned workshop of the Brockhurst Garage, Harrow Weald, Middlesex.

The occupying firm, who were due to vacate the premises on 10th November, have only within the last few days found storage accommodation for their machinery. We are in close touch with both the firm and the owner of the property, and I hope that it will be possible to give the premises up very soon.