25 NOVEMBER 1938, Page 2

The Ministry of Supply Despite Mr. Churchill's demand for a

" healthy growl ' from the Conservative benches, the Liberal Opposition'; amendment to the Address asking for a Ministry of Suppl- was overwhelmingly defeated. Yet the Prime Minister seem, to recognise that public opinion is not satisfied ; and since, in his own words, " the public must be convinced that all is well," an advisory committee of business' men is being set up, to which firms may complain of delay in contracts or lack of contracts. This step will, hardly have the sedative effect required,; in no way a substitute for establishing a Ministry of Supply, the arguments for which the Cabinet still scarcely seems to understand. The main function of such a Ministry is not to ensure that contracts are given or per- formed, but to organise the supply and distribution of the material required if contracts are to be carried out. At present contracting firms compete with each other, and with firms working on civil contracts, for a limited supply of material in the open market. There is no assurance that supplies will be present, at the right place, and the right moment, and it is certain that prices will be driven to the highest possible point. Nevertheless Sir Thomas Inskip, in one of his moments of awe-inspiring complacency, can assert that " all the evils which a Ministry of Supply might cure have been cured already." * * * *