§ COLONEL DENNY (Kilmarnock Burghs)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that lead pencils made in Germany and Austria have for years enjoyed almost a monopoly of the supply of this country; and, having regard to the quality of the pencils now made in London, whether His Majesty's Stationery Office will take care to give orders for pencils to the home manufacturers.
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. HAYES FISHER, Fulham)
Some years ago nearly all pencils bought for the public service were of foreign origin, but the Stationery Office are now able, as a rule, to obtain English pencils which meet their requirements. During the financial year 1901–02 they purchased (including telegraph pencils and small quantities of fancy pencils) 5355 gross of cedar pencils of which all but 725 gross were of English make. Careful experiments were made a few years ago with regard to telegraph pencils, and it was found that those manufactured in England were either considerably dearer or less satisfactory than the present pencils which are obtained from a firm in London but manufactured in Germany.
§ MR. HAYES FISHER
I am not aware that the pencils here are of foreign origin, but I will make inquiries.