HC Deb 15 June 1894 vol 25 cc1222-3
MR. MUNTZ (Warwickshire, Tamworth)

I beg to ask the Postmaster General Question 32—whether the agents for foreign prison labour were allowed to compete for the contract for the supply of belts, pouches, leggings, &c., recently given to the Home Office to be supplied by prison labour; and, if so, what difference there was between the home and foreign tenders? Also Question 33—i.e., what was the saving effected by obtaining the belts, pouches, leggings, &c., from the Home Office instead of the firms which had usually been employed? And Question 34—namely, whether it is the intention of the Government to allow the great Public Departments to supply themselves as far as possible from prison labour, to the detriment of free labour and honest workmen?


The answer to Question No. 32 is in the negative. To Question No. 33 I can only repeat the answer I gave to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Birmingham, that the saving is estimated at about £100 a year. The question of policy is rather one for my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, and I understand it is one of the subjects which will be considered by the Committee which has been appointed to inquire into the management of prisons. So far as the Post Office is concerned, there is no intention to depart from the practice which was adopted by one of my predecessors, the late Mr. Raikes, in 1891, under which certain articles suitable for the purpose are obtained from the Prison Authorities, and by which the cost of the prisons to the taxpayers is reduced.