27 MARCH 1942, Page 2

Mr. Lyttelton as Minister of Production

Mr. Oliver Lyttelton's speech in the House of Commons on Tuesday gave the impression that he has taken the measure of the work that is waiting to be done by a Minister of Production. He realises that he has to make use of the organisations that already exist and find new means of turning them to advantage. The powers that he possesses are very wide, and he says that they are all that he had asked for. Of the three things that are indis- pensable in all production two come uncler his absolute control— raw materials and machine tools—and of the third, labour, he shares the control with Mr. Bevin. He is determined to give effect to the principle that war production must be directly related to strategy, so that the employment of armed forces and the supply of equipment may be directed to a single purpose. To that end he proposes to set up a General Staff of War Production and a Joint War Production Planning Group which will serve to bring the work of production into line with what the Forces need on active service. In regard to the supply both of raw materials and the making of equipment, Mr. Lyttelton will- have to work in conjunction with the United States and the Dominions and all the United Nations. In the sphere of industrial work at home it will be his task to facilitate an uninterrupted flow of orders and material and to bring the whole capacity of industry into play. He has wisely decided to develop regional organisation, and to use local knowledge and experience for bringing even the smallest firms into continuous work. Mr. Lyttelton has the right conception of his powers, and it now remains to be seen how he will apply them. Particularly welcome is his assertion that he will shut his mind to no suggestions, however revolutionary.