§ MR. HUNT (Shropshire, Ludlow)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether cables, chains, furniture, or any of the many other articles required by the Admiralty can be obtained from abroad if they are found to be cheaper than those made in Great Britain or Ireland.† See (4) Debates, clxxv., 692.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON, Dundee)
Chain cables and anchors are made under Admiralty supervision and are never obtained from abroad. As I have already explained in reply to previous questions, special care is taken to obtain supplies within the United Kingdom of all articles of primary importance for war. It is the practice of the Admiralty to buy only from the manufacturer, and, where ample competition is obtainable in this country, I see no reason to believe that articles of similar quality could be obtained more cheaply from abroad; but foreign competition is in some cases the only weapon against rings or other combinations among the producers in this country. If the hon. Member will only wait the issue of the Return of articles purchased abroad, for which the hon. and gallant Member for Central Sheffield will move on the 20th instant, he will see exactly what articles have been purchased abroad during the first year for which the present Administration were solely responsible.