November 18th. 1935.
EXTRACTS FROM EVIDENCE BEFORE THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE PRIVATE MANUFACTURE OF AND TRADING IN ARMS.
(The numbers quoted after the Witness' name are those of the numerical sequence of the evidence as issued).
RT. HON. C. ADDISON:
(Nos. 4 & 6 - page 83):
"You see you cannot expect a private manufacturer to establish and keep a machine (often a very expensive machine) unless that machine is being steadily used. You could not expect him to keep a machine idle half the year - a great and complicated plant. The cost of keeping that machine must, quite properly, increase his overhead charges, and that is the only way the man can deal with it and quite fairly".
Note: In our case we have received practically no Government orders since the War, and the only benefit we have derived from the Surplus Arms Agreement is :-
A Gross Profit on sales effected of: £4,787.10.0.
Less 20% Reserved towards the cost of plant capable of producing rifles of a more modern type than the Mark III: 957.10.0.
NET PROFIT TO B.S.A.: ........ £3,830. 0.0.
(Nos. 4 & 6 - page 79):
"That dependence upon private manufacture proved to be not only insufficient but dangerous because of the reliance that it led the nation to have upon that system which proved to be inadequate".
Note: In so far as Rifles are concerned, there were at that time only two private contractors engaged, viz. The London Small Arms Co. Ltd. and ourselves. If the system was inadequate in 1914, the degree of inadequacy must now be greatly increased by reason :-
(a) Of the complete withdrawal of support to Small Arms manufacturers since 1919.
(b) That, as the London Small Arms Company is no longer in existence, we are the only firm with plant available for the manufacture of Service Rifles.
Another point which was emphasized in this evidence was the shortage of skilled labour, particularly of men accustomed to gauge-making for the various branches of inspection, as the supply of men was dangerously small.