20 MARCH 1942, Page 2

The Minister of Production

The Prime Minister gave some account last week of the powers which will be assumed by Mr. Oliver Lyttelton in his new capacity as Minister of Production, with chief responsibility on behalf of the Cabinet for war-production as a whole. No new Ministry is to be set up, and the Ministers in charge of the Supply departments will continue to be responsible for them to the Cabinet and to Parliament. But Mr. Lyttelton's functions will include those formerly allotted to Lord Beaverbrook and others. He will take over the duties hitherto performed by the Production Executive, and will settle production priorities, allot industrial capacity (except that allocated by the Admiralty) and control the Regional Boards. Through the latter it is hoped that he will be able to ensure that more use is made of skilled pro- fessional advice in the various trades and that smaller factories will be kept continuously provided with orders. He will also direct the work of British representatives on the combined bodies set up to organise the resources of all countries. It is now recognised that a Minister of Production must have control of the man-power which is to be allotted to the productive indus- tries, and in this sphere Mr. Lyttelton will work in co-operation with Mr. Bevin, as Minister of Labour. As the supply depart- ments will continue to have a separate existence, Mr. Lyttelton need not be unduly burdened with routine administration, and it is to be hoped that he will have time to give to the general work of the War Cabinet.