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Ministry Of Supply

Volume 477: debated on Monday 17 July 1950

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Ordnance Factory, Irvine


asked the Minister of Supply whether, in view of the dissatisfaction among the workers at the Royal ordnance factory in Irvine, he is satisfied that the output is satisfactory in regard to the wages and salaries paid to the staff, and that the numbers employed are required for the work performed.

I am satisfied that the numbers employed at this factory are required for the work performed and that their output is satisfactory. I am not aware that they are dissatisfied.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the complaints I have received come from the workers themselves, and cover the questions of what they are asked to do, what they actually do do, and what they are allowed to get away with? There would appear to be something wrong.

I have no information about dissatisfaction. Moreover, no dissatisfaction has been expressed to the joint production committee of the factory.

That is a very much wider question. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would care to put it down.

Ordnance Factories (Security)


asked the Minister of Supply what improvements in security measures have been effected in the last two years at Royal ordnance factories to prevent the employment of undesirable persons.

The policy, as announced by the Prime Minister in March, 1948, of excluding unreliable persons from access to defence secrets is applied to the Royal ordnance factories.

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure us that the measures he has indicated are sufficient to prevent the employment as editor of the "R.O.F. News" of a man with two convictions for assaulting the police and who has been a well known Communist since the war?

Factory, Belfast (Redundancy)


asked the Minister of Supply how many persons have been dismissed on grounds of redundancy since the beginning of this year from Messrs. Short Brothers and Harland of Belfast.

Can my right hon. Friend say what is the reason for this redundancy? Is there no similar work among the great volume of work put out by his Department that can be put to this factory that would prevent redundancy?

I can assure my hon. Friend we are doing everything we can to keep up the level of work—and, if possible, to increase it—at this very important aircraft factory.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the reason for this redundancy was that the men belonged to breakaway unions?

No, Sir. The reason was the quite simple one that there was a slackening of work.

Lord Lieutenants


asked the Prime Minister whether there are any arrangements, on the death of a Lord Lieutenant, to carry on the work of that office pending the appointment of a successor.

Yes, Sir. Under Section 31 of the Militia Act, 1882, where there is no Lieutenant of a county, His Majesty may authorise any three Deputy Lieutenants of such county to act as the Lieutenant thereof.

Festival Of Britain


asked the Lord President of the Council whether any decision has yet been reached regarding the opening of the Festival of Britain exhibition and fun fair on Sundays.

Consultation with the Churches through the Festival of Britain Advisory Council of Christian Churches is still in progress. The answer must, therefore, be "No, Sir."


asked the Lord President of the Council whether tenders are to be invited for catering at the Festival of Britain Exhibition; and whether he will now make a further statement on the arrangements to be made.

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to catering at the South Bank Exhibition. The position is that tenders have been invited and have been received. They are at present under consideration.

Germany (British Subjects' Claims)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware of the hardship caused by delay in settling claims to compensation for loss of property made by British civilians interned in Germany during the war, which have been shelved pending the conclusion of peace; and whether, in view of the delay in making a peace treaty, he will negotiate for an international agreement to settle such claims.

The Governments of the Western occupying Powers are now considering claims arising out of the war with Germany, among which these would appear to be included.

Does that mean that it is the intention, if possible, to make an agreement in advance of the peace treaty?

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman can necessarily assume that. The matter is being considered by the inter-Governmental study group on Germany now meeting in London. The whole matter of claims is being considered by them.