HC Deb 02 May 1893 vol 11 cc1747-8
MR. CREMER (Shoreditch, Haggerston)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he has caused inquiries to be made concerning the conditions upon which Mr. A. Smith, of Stratford, is executing his contract to supply brooms for the Army; whether the contractor is paying the recognised rate of wages and employing competent workmen; and whether the evidence which has been supplied to him was obtained from the contractor, his agents, or the workpeople?


The contract for brushes entered into with Mr. Augustus Smith, of Stratford, contained the usual condition to pay current wages. Mr. Smith denies the allegations made against him by the Brushmakers' Union. In consequence, his factory has been visited by a representative of the Department, and, although the Government work was not in hand at the time, he was enabled to inspect the processes of manufacture, which involve a sub-division of labour and the employment of steam-power to an extent not ordinarily followed in the brushmaking trade. The wages-books were also examined, and the Inspector conversed with the men employed. From what he reports, and on the evidence now before us, there does not appear to be any sufficient reason for the intervention of the Department.


Will the hon. Gentleman consent to receive rebutting testimony from the operatives themselves?


The hon. Gentleman will see that my answer is confined to an opinion on the evidence before us.


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has caused inquiries to be made as to the sanitary condition of the premises of Mr. A. Smith, a Government contractor at Stratford?


These premises were visited and reported on by the Inspector on 22nd March, and again yesterday. Certain defects in the roof and in the sanitary arrangements were pointed out to the firm at the first visit. These are now found to have been partially remedied, and the Inspector has required the further improvements which he considers necessary to be promptly completed.