HC Deb 06 March 1885 vol 295 c278

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, If he will be good enough to inform the House the number and description of ships for which he has accepted tenders from private shipbuilders; whether the lowest tenders have in all cases been accepted alike for ships and machinery; and, if it is correct that the Admiralty have declined allowing builders, who have not hitherto built torpedo boats, to tender for this type of craft without first building experimental specimens at their own cost?


Tenders have been accepted for six Scouts. In their invitations calling for tenders for shipbuilding, the Admiralty expressly state that they do not bind themselves to accept the lowest tender. They accept, in all cases, the tender which is considered best for the Public Service. It happens in this instance to have been the lowest. It has been thought desirable that the recent invitations to tender for 10 first-class torpedo boats should be addressed to those firms who have the greatest experience in the special work required; but the Admiralty are anxious to encourage a more general competition, and they propose to invite firms to build experimental boats on their own design, which they will be prepared to accept on condition that a minimum speed is realized.