§ SIR THOMAS DEWAR (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India if he will explain why an order for 800 pairs of wheels and axles for the Indian State Railways was recently given to German makers; will he state the value of the order thus secured by Germany, and what number of British firms competed for the contract; is he aware that the last locomotives made in Germany for service on the Indian Railways were not favourably reported on by the inspectors; and, if so, can he say whether any action has been taken for the purpose of excluding the contractors from future tenders.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Mr. BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
The order to which the hon. Member refers was given to a German firm because their tender was considerably lower than that of any English firm, and was, in the opinion of my advisers, very satisfactory in other respects. It would be contrary to the established practice to divulge the price at which the German firm or any other firm tendered. I am not aware that an unfavourable report on the last locomotives made in Germany for Indian Railways has been received; but I may add that the order in question was given by an Indian Railway Company and not by me or by my predecessor in office.
§ SIR CHARLES McLAREN (Leicestershire, Bosworth)
Are the specifications issued to foreign firms the same as those issued to British firms.
§ MR. MACONOCHIE (Aberdeenshire, E.)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the officials of State railways in Germany are prohibited buying material in England?