§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
I beg to ask the Financial Secretary to the War Office, in respect to the contract for the Cork Military District recently given to the Canteen and Mess Co-operative Society, whether he is aware that the contract was given to this society at prices in excess of those quoted by a local contractor; that 183 articles were quoted by the local firm at prices below those of the Canteen Society, whilst 64 articles were quoted lower in price by the Canteen Society, and of these 64 the consumption is very small; and whether, in the interests of the soldiers, the War Office authorities will order an investigation into the whole matter.
* THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE WAR OFFICE (Mr. J. POWELL-WILLIAMS,) Birmingham, S.
The facts may or may not be as stated in the question of the hon. Member, but the tenders sent in were carefully considered by a board of officers, and the contracts were placed after a thorough examination of the samples submitted for inspection, the quality of the samples being taken into consideration as well as the price. I must repeat that matters relating to these supplies are dealt with by those who are interested in the Canteens, and who are responsible for their proper management, and the Secretary of State is not disposed to interfere with them in the exercise of their discretion.
§ CAPTAIN DONELAN
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Cork shopkeepers contribute towards the maintenance of the Army?
§ MR. FLYNN
I beg to ask the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether he is aware that the Canteen and Mess Co-operative Society pay a dividend of not less than 5 per cent. to its shareholders; if so, can it be so described as a provident society of which officers upon active service may act as directors without transgressing the Queen's regulations.
* MR. J. POWELL-WILLIAMS
The Society pays a dividend of not more than 5 per cent. It is registered as a provident society under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, 1893. It is not contrary to the Queen's regulations for an officer on full pay to act on the committee of management of such a provident society, their individual interest in which is limited by the Act to £200 capital.