§ MR. HANBURY (Preston)
asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether he is aware that a considerable portion of the disused accoutrements and clothing of the Army annually sold at Woolwich consists of articles which have, in many instances, been used very little, and in many others not used at all; whether such stores are brought up to Woolwich from all the depôts in the country, instead of being disposed of on the spot to local purchasers; whether, when brought to Woolwich, they are put up for sale in very large quantities, with the effect of reducing the number of possible purchasers to a small ring of Jewish firms; and, whether, on the ground that such a rings exists, the contracts for the purchase of such stores are given without any open competition whatever?
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY, WAR DEPARTMENT (Mr. BRODRICK) (Surrey, Guildford)
(who replied) said: 1085 As regards clothing, commanding officers are responsible that none is sold which has not been worn for the regulated time. It is sold in the districts where it is discarded. As to accoutrements, none are sold which can be made available for service, except occasionally obsolete patterns, which would be inapplicable to our troops. Before sale they are broken up, and the brass ornaments, &c, removed, so that practically it is only the old leather which is sold. All stores of this sort are brought up to Woolwich to be examined before they are parted with. It is under consideration whether stops cannot be taken to increase the competition at these sales, and to bring the ultimate consumers into more direct contact with the War Department.