HC Deb 02 December 1908 vol 197 cc1444-5
MR. H. C. LEA (St. Pancras, E.)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will grant a Return stating the total number of gallons of rum bought by his Department in each of the last three years; the date of each purchase; the number of gallons bought, and the price per gallon paid on each ocasion, and the marks and the names of the ships of the respective parcels involved in these various transactions; will he stale whether the whole of these purchases were made by one firm of brokers without competition or tender; and, if so, what reason is adduced for this departure from ordinary procedure in obtaining supplies for a Government Department.


The quantity of rum purchased in London for the Navy in each of the three latest years to date, is as follows—

1906 400,000
1907 120,000
1908 420,000
Prices and other particulars of Admiralty purchases of supplies of all commodities, are treated as confidential in the public interest, and it is not considered desirable to furnish the information asked for in the second and third parts of the Question. The whole of the purchases were made through one firm of brokers, who obtained offers in the open market without restriction of free competition. There was no departure from the ordinary trade procedure.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Admiralty purchases of rum are carried out by one firm of brokers who accept only one kind— Demerara rum, and that the result of the purchase of large quantities is absolutely to dislocate the whole trade? Will he receive a deputation of people concerned in the market?


I should like notice of that Question.