HC Deb 16 November 1914 vol 68 cc212-4
97. Mr. TOUCHE

asked if complaints have been received regarding the quality of clothing supplied to the new Army; if contracts have been placed at prices which constitute an incentive to scamp material and sacrifice quality, and to employ sweated labour; and what steps have been taken to secure good material and workmanship, and the payment of adequate wages?


No complaint has been received with regard to the quality of clothing supplied by the War Department. All contracts contain the Fair-Wages Clause, and any supposed case of its non-observance in the making-up of clothing has been referred to the Trade Board.

99. Mr. BARNES

asked the Under-Secretary for War whether he is aware that many members of the Scottish Operative Tailors' and Tailoresses' Association are unemployed; and whether he will take steps to secure that the present orders for clothing will be spread over as wide an area and employ as many workpeople as possible?

113. Mr. WATT

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether, in supplying clothes to the recruits, his Department refuses to deal with contractors who cannot supply 1,000 suits per week or other large number; whether he is aware that tailors in the large provincial towns such as Glasgow and Edinburgh are suffering from unemployment and yet are precluded from participating in War Office contracts by that Department's principle of dealing only with contractors doing large quantities; and whether he can see his way to lessen the unemployment in this trade by allowing small makers, able to do say twenty-five suits weekly and upwards, to participate in the War Office contracts?


A communication has been received from the association referred to. Every effort is being and will be made to relieve unemployment by distributing War Office orders as widely as possible, but there are practical difficulties in placing contracts with firms who are only able to deliver in small quanti- ties. I shall, however, be happy to consider applications from groups of firms who can, through a trade association or otherwise, make satisfactory arrangements for the execution of a contract securing substantial weekly deliveries.


What are the practical difficulties of having small men supplying suits of clothes?


We want enormous quantities. They have to be inspected. It is almost impossible to secure a competent inspection staff to deal with all those small firms. I think it perfectly possible for a number of these small firms to join together and tender, and I hope that they will do so.


Would the right hon. Gentleman consider a firm willing to supply 500 suits a week a small firm?

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