HC Deb 01 May 1906 vol 156 cc396-7
MR. HIGHAM (Yorkshire, W.R., Sowerby)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that, in the year 1901–2, the Government factories produced 107,642 rifles at a cost of £2 10s. each, whilst the War Office bought from the trade 137,030 rifles at an average cost of £3 15s. 5d. each; that in the year 1902–3 the factories produced 81,377 rifles at a cost of £2 11s. 0d. each, and the Government bought 90,000 more at £3 10s. each; and will he give the number and cost of rifles manufactured at Enfield in the years 1903–4, 1904–5, and 1905–6, and also the number bought from the trade, and the price of them, in the same years.


The figures quoted are substantially correct. It must be observed, however, that the low prices referred to were for long rifles, now no longer made, and the cost of the special machinery for the production of these rifles has been charged and recouped in previous years. This has not hitherto been the case with the short rifle, but similar causes are now reducing the cost of the short rifle also both to the trade and to the factories. The Ordinance factories manufactured the following rifles in the years referred to, viz.:—;

£ s. d.
1903–4 14,805 long rifles at 2 13 8
1904–5 67,180 short rifles at 3 18 5
1905–6 51,378 short rifles at 3 15 8
During the same years 135,000 short rifles were made by the trade at an average cost of £4 9s. 6d. For the current year both the trade and the factory prices are below the figures above quoted, and there is not likely to be any considerable difference between them.