§ MR. D. CRAWFORD (Lanark, N.E.)
asked the Surveyor General of Ordnance, Whether, out of 27 firms applied to during 1886–7 for tool steel for the Manufacturing Departments of the Army, out of seven firms applied to for special steel, out of 13 firms applied to for pig iron, out of 11 firms applied to for engineers' machine tools, out of four firms on the list for supply of gas coals, out of seven firms on the list for supply of steam coals, out of 18 firms on the list for supply of Hartley coals, out of four firms on the list for supply of anthracite coals, no firms in Scotland were applied to or were on the list; whether, out of 17 firms applied to for bar iron, only one Scottish firm, and whether, out of 27 firms applied to for machine tools, only two Scottish firms were applied to; and, whether, considering the importance and dimensions of the coal, iron, and steel trades in Scotland, he will consider the propriety of giving to Scottish traders a more adequate share of the custom of the Department?
§ THE SURVEYOR GENERAL (Mr. NORTHCOTE) (Exeter)
The facts are as stated in the Question. As regards the classes of coal specified, those at present obtained are considered, both as regards price and quality, to be preferable to the Scotch coal. With reference to the other supplies named, there is no wish to discriminate against Scotland, and any Scotch firm desirous of tendering should apply to the Director of Army Contracts. It must, however, be remembered that the supplies have, for the most part, to be delivered at Woolwich; and distance 259 tells in prices of articles as to which there is keen competition.