HC Deb 31 May 1886 vol 306 cc493-4
MR. HOOPER (Cork, S.E.)

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether he is aware that the contract for supplying the canteen of the 11th Hussars at Ballincollig Barracks was by order of the Colonel transferred from a local contractor to one of the Army Supply Associations, against the expressed wish of the sergeants of the regiment; whether he is aware that Colonel Kelly-Kenny, of the 1st Battalion Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment, while stationed at Cork Barracks, took means to ascertain the feeling of the sergeants of his regiment as to dealing locally or otherwise for the regimental supplies, and that they unanimously decided in favour of local dealing; and, whether, under all the circumstances, he will consider whether it is desirable that measures should be taken for ensuring that these contracts for regiments should only be conferred under an open system of competition by tender?


Sir, I am informed that, in consequence of some irregularity in the payment to the sergeants' mess of the 11th Hussars, the officer commanding directed that through a committee payments would have to be made weekly. This had the effect of diverting the custom from the local contractor. In the 1st Battalion Surrey Regiment, the sergeants, on being asked, expressed an opinion in favour of local dealing. I agree with the hon. Member that the best method for obtaining supplies is by open competition; but the regulation for a committee of sergeants' messing and of leaving a large discretion to their committees of management works very well, and gives satisfaction to the Army, and I do not think it is desirable that the management should be interfered with by any directions on the subject.