HC Deb 02 March 1893 vol 9 cc795-6

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he will lay upon the Table of the House a Copy of the Military Report upon the Infantry Camp at Colchester; whether, as it is the intention of the Government not to confine the tenders to local contractors, he will place a clause in all the tenders fixing the minimum rate of wages to be paid in every class of work, since it can be conclusively shown that the work can be performed cheaper by local resident builders; and will he state upon what grounds it is proposed to import strange contractors for the purpose?


I am not aware to what Report the hon. and gallant Member refers. He seems to be unaware of the general system on which contracts are made. Tenders are always called for from local contractors of repute; but others not on the spot are included for the sake of securing a healthy competition. If local firms can do the work more cheaply than firms from a distance, as ought to be the case, a local firm would naturally obtain the contract. Contracts provide that the contractor shall pay the wages current in the locality. If minimum rates were fixed, and wages rose during the contract, there would be nothing to prevent the contractor from paying less than the current wages.