HC Deb 21 February 1906 vol 152 cc336-8
MR. SEAVERNS (Lambeth, Brixton)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if the case of the application of Mrs. Thorogood to the Lambeth Board of Guardians for outdoor relief has come under his notice; if he is aware that Mrs. Thorogood has been receiving for trouser-making wages averaging a penny per hour, and that the trousers made by her were for the Volunteers; if so, will he say if they were made under Government contract; and, if so, if he will investigate the matter, and see that such practices shall be rendered impossible in the case of War Office contracts in future.

MR. J. R. MACDONALD (Leicester)

At the same time may I ask the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the case of Mrs. Thorogood, who stated to the Lambeth Board of Guardians that she was working upon Volunteer uniforms at a wage of 1¼d. per hour; whether he will consider if these contracts can be brought under the Government Fair Wages Clause; and whether Volunteer uniforms could be made in the Army Clothing Factory.


If the allegation had been made in regard to work upon a War Department Contract I would gladly have enquired into the matter. But as the Volunteers make their own arrangements for obtaining their clothing it is not within my power to intervene. As regards the last paragraph of the Question of the hon. Member for Leicester, the resources and accommodation available at the Royal Army Clothing Department are not sufficient to meet the extensive Volunteer requirements in addition to those of the Regular Army and Militia.

MR. CROOKS (Woolwich)

Will you take steps to prevent Volunteer officers availing themselves of work done under such conditions by, say, deducting something from the Capitation Grant?


It is not a matter we could manage in that way. They make their own arrangements. The Grant is not given for uniform alone, but for services rendered.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of increasing the accommodation at the Army Clothing Factory, so as to put an end to this state of things?


If we did that we should have to take over the supply of clothing to Volunteers. It is a matter requiring consideration. I can give no pledge.


Cannot you make representations to those responsible?


I trust the publicity given to this Question will have the necessary effect. It is not desirable that these things should continue.

MR. JOHN O'CONNOR: (Kildare, N.)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a factory at Limerick capable of supplying the whole British Army with uniforms.