HC Deb 01 March 1901 vol 90 c181

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he can state how much money has been spent up to 31st December last, or other convenient date, on secret contracts or secret purchases in connection with the South African war; and can he state when purchases or contracts are kept secret from this House who determines or advises the prices to be given, particularly under the following heads —namely, conveyance of troops, arms, ammunition, food, forage, tentage, tools and engines, railway material, clothing and bedding, hospital stores, animals, and saddlery and harness.


I am afraid I cannot give the information asked for by the hon. Member in the first part of his question. Terms of contract are settled, generally speaking, by the Director of Contracts in consultation with the military authorities concerned, and subject to the concurrence of the Financial Secretary and Secretary of State where the importance of the matter requires it. The chief exceptions to the above rule are the conveyance of troops by sea, which rests mainly with the Admiralty, and the purchase of horses, which rests with the Inspector General of Remounts.