HC Deb 16 July 1888 vol 328 cc1393-4
MR. COGHILL (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

asked the Postmaster General, Whether, when the contract for a three years' supply of clothing for the Post Office was entered into in April last, one of the stipulations of that contract was that all work was to be made up on the contractor's own premises, and whether he required and received assurances from the firm to whom the contract was given that this condition would be complied with; whether he has had his attention called to the fact that the contractor in question has given out some of the Post Office clothing to sweaters; and, whether he received a tender from a firm at Newcastle-under-Lyme, in which they engaged to finish all the garments entirely on their own factory, and to give out no work to be done up off their premises; also, whether the successful contractor for the Post Office clothing in April last was allowed to amend his tender after first sending it in; and, whether the same privilege was extended to other competing contractors?

THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES) (Cambridge University)

It is stipulated in the contract that all the garments needed by the Post Office shall be made on the contractor's own premises; and the Secretary of State for War, by whom the contract was made on my behalf, has the power to order the contractor's premises to be inspected from time to time. I have no information on the point raised in the second part of the hon. Member's Question; but the contract provides for the infliction of a fine of £100 for each proved offence. If the hon. Member can supply me with any information, the matter shall be inquired into. A tender for the contract was received from a firm at Newcastle-under-Lyme; but the prices named were higher than those quoted by the firm to which the contract was given. The successful contractor for supplying uniform clothing to the Department was allowed to amend his tender after sending it in, so far as to add to the prices quoted an additional sum to provide for the manufacture of garments on his own premises. It was unnecessary to offer a like opportunity to other competing contractors, inasmuch as the terms of their tenders were higher than the terms of the successful contractor, even after they had been increased by a sum to provide against sweating.