HC Deb 03 February 1908 vol 183 c505

I beg to ask the Civil Lord of the Admiralty whether he can state the rate of wages paid to skilled and unskilled workers respectively in the Norwegian quarries, from which granite is to be procured for the extension works at Haulbowline, and the number of working hours per day.

I beg also to ask the Civil Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that the specification originally sent to all the Irish firms invited to tender for the lengthening of the dry dock at Haulbowline contained the condition that limestone should be the material used for the principal part of the masonry work; whether all the Irish firms were afforded an opportunity of amending their tenders when permission was subsequently given to substitute Norwegian granite for limestone; if he can state the reasons which influenced the Admiralty to alter the original specification and permit the substitution of Norwegian granite for limestone; and whether he is aware that quantities of Irish limestone were used in the construction of the great docks at Cardiff opened last year by His Majesty the King.


As regards the first Question, the Admiralty have no information on the subject. As regards the second; Irish stone was originally specified for certain parts of the masonry, but, between the time of inviting tenders and the date for their delivery, certain of the firms requested permission to substitute granite for Irish stone. Granite, in the opinion of the Admiralty, being a better material, alternative tender prices were sanctioned, and all firms were treated exactly alike. In every case where alternative prices were quoted granite was considerably lower in price than Irish stone. The Admiralty, with every desire to assist local industry, could not exclude the use of a material which was superior in quality and cheaper in price.