HC Deb 11 December 1900 vol 88 cc500-1
SIR ALFRED HICKMAN (Wolverhampton, W.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that orders involving expenditure of many thousands of pounds for bridges for the Uganda Railway have been given to an American firm; and whether he will take steps to prevent such orders being given in future without full opportunity being given to bridge builders in the United Kingdom to compete on the same conditions as regards tests, mode of manufacture, inspection, and erection at makers' works, as the American makers are subject to.


The answer to the first paragraph is, yes. With regard to the second paragraph, tenders were invited in the United Kingdom on drawings and specifications prepared by Sir A. Rendel and Company, the con suiting engineers, under the same conditions as regards tests, etc. One of the American tenders was found to be considerably the lowest in every respect, and was therefore accepted. British firms are always given full opportunity to tender for work for this line, and I need not say that Her Majesty's Government are anxious to employ them whenever the terms offered are consistent with the interests of the public service.


Were the British firms invited to tender before the Americans?


was understood to ask if the American firms had not first to erect the bridges at their own works.


I must ask for notice of both questions.