HC Deb 07 April 1887 vol 313 cc682-3

asked the Surveyor General of the Ordnance, Whether it is a fact that, in the Accoutrement Section or Department at the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, the Inspector, three out of the seven permanent "viewers," and three out of the four temporary "viewers," come from the firm of Ross and Company, of Bermondsey, Government contractors for leather and saddlery; whether the Accoutrement Inspector does not also inspect and "pass" the saddlery; who were responsible for the appointment of these men; and, whether any steps will be taken to remedy, for the future, so apparent an evil?


I am informed that it is a fact that the Inspector of Accoutrements came from the firm of Ross and Company. He was selected from 47 applicants for the post, with the approval of the then Surveyor General, with the full knowledge that he had been employed for some years by this firm. It is not the fact that three out of seven permanent viewers, and three out of four temporary viewers, came from the firm of Ross and Company. One permanent viewer, appointed 10 years ago, came from that firm. The Inspector of Accoutrements has temporarily, while the appointment of Inspector of Saddlery has been vacant, inspected and passed new saddlery. This arrangement will now cease, as an Inspector of Saddlery has been provisionally appointed. The appointment of viewers is in the hands of the Commissary General of Ordnance, Royal Arsenal. The Inspector's appointments are approved by the Surveyor General of the Ordnance.