§ MR. HUNT (Shropshire, Ludlow)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether Messrs. Huber Brothers, writing on 13th March, 1906, offered to supply the Government with any sort of blotting paper at a price just below the cost of production, and much under the price the Government were then paying; whether the Government refused and gave as an answer a reference to a former answer on 20th March, 1905, to the effect that blotting papers were obtained from mills in the United Kingdom, and that, therefore, Huber Brothers were not eligible to tender; and whether the Government will apply the same principle of British work for British workers to all Government requirements, so as to provide work and wages for the unemployed.
§ MR. HOBHOUSE
I understand the facts of this case to be as follows:— On 13th March, 1906, Messrs. Huber Brothers wrote repeating former offers to supply the Stationery Office with their make of blotting paper. They declared their readiness to do so at a price which, they stated, represented a slight loss on the cost of production, and which would be less than the Department was paying for blotting paper stated by Messrs. Huber to be not so absorbent, not so strong, and not so lasting as theirs. The paper of Messrs. Huber had been previously thoroughly tested, and it was found that, as compared with the blotting papers which the Department was purchasing, it was no more absorbent, that it was inferior as regards the quality of material, and that it cost two and a half times as much. It was, moreover, of foreign manufacture, and as all ordinary papers for the use of Government Departments are purchased direct from mills in the United Kingdom, (see Cd. 2083 of 1904 p. 23), they were so informed and told that their firm was thus not eligible to tender for such supplies. I am unable to give the pledge asked for in the last paragraph.