§ MR. HANBURY
I beg to ask the Financial Secretary for War what is the reason for "the considerable difference in price between the supplies for Army and Navy Services" in the case of medical stores, as commented upon by the Auditor General; and why the Director of Contracts has decided not to adopt the system of competition which prevails in the Navy for similar stores, and to ignore the recommendation of the Auditor General "to take steps for ascertaining by public tender whether the supply of these stores for the use of the Army could not be more economically obtained?"
§ MR. BRODRICK
The question of obtaining medical stores for the Army by public competition has been very carefully considered, and as the paramount consideration is to obtain medicines of the best quality for the use of the troops the supply has been for some years intrusted to two firms of high standing. As the packing and distribution of the stores is undertaken by the contractors for the Army, which is not the case in the Navy, this must be taken into account in estimating the difference between the price paid by the Army and Navy respectively. My hon. Friend will therefore see that the question cannot be decided solely on the question of the price of the article, and further information will be afforded when the question comes before the Public Accounts Committee. If that Committee is not satisfied with the explanation, the matter will be reconsidered.