HC Deb 01 July 1889 vol 337 cc1144-5
MR. HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, if he is satisfied that the Director of Contracts could not have placed within the United Kingdom, with due regard to the public service, the War Office contracts concluded with. foreigners during the past financial year, for £6,617 for butts and fore ends, for £3,250 for cloth and silk, for £3,688 for electric light and telephone apparatus, and for £18,078 for armour-piercing projectiles; and, particularly, if for the latter implements of war, for which Sheffield has a speciality, tenders were invited from that town.

* THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. E. STANHOPE,) Lincolnshire, Horncastle

These contracts could not have been placed within the United Kingdom. For the butts and fore-ends Italian walnut is required, and the English firms to whom the orders were given had to import the wood. Silk cloth is an article of foreign manufacture, but we are trying to encourage English firms to make it. As regards the electric light and telephonic apparatus, certain articles of foreign manufacture (such as Ader's telephones, &c.) were required, and they were bought where they are made. The order for armour-piercing projectiles its put up to competition in Sheffield, and firms in that town secured orders to the value of £33,650, the foreign orders amounting to £18,078.