§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY (for Mr. Ramsay Macdonald)
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman's attention has been drawn to the fact that the War Office is in the habit of issuing orders for boots and shoes to be delivered at times when the boot and shoe trade is ordinarily busy; and whether he will place his orders so that they intervene between the seasonal pressure experienced by this industry?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Haldane)
The habit of the War Office in issuing orders for boots and shoes is the reverse of that suggested by the hon. Member. The practice has been to spread the deliveries over practically the whole year, and in proof of this I may state that if the hon. Member will refer to an answer given on February 22nd to the hon. Member for North Northamptonshire he will find that in only seven months since April, 1904, have deliveries not been asked for. The War Department also have often been willing on application to allow contractors to vary the rate of delivery so as to secure continuity of work for the contractors and work people engaged in boot manufacture. The hon. Member's suggestion that the orders should intervene between the periods of seasonal pressure experienced by the industry rather than be spread over the whole year will be most seriously considered; but I fear that so many of those employed depend wholly upon Army boot-making that it would not be to their advantage to cencentrate the work upon any particular part of the year. The suggestion 187 if acted on would also, I fear, make it impossible to carry cut the work of boot inspection economically.