HC Deb 21 July 1915 vol 73 cc1482-3

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether any person qualified to judge had examined the whole of the stores offered for sale by auction in 336 lots at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, on 20th May last, with the object of determining if the articles and materials described in the sale catalogue as unserviceable and obsolete were in fact unserviceable; and whether the sale referred to is the third or fourth sale of the same kind ordered by the Secretary of State since the present War commenced?


Yes, Sir; the whole of the stores in question had been subjected to expert consideration with regard to their condition and further utility in the Service. The sale was the third that has taken place since the commencement of the War. It should be borne in mind that an obsolete article is not necessarily unserviceable in the sense of being useless for any purpose, but is merely of no further use in the Service?


May I ask whether it is the fact that in practice these sales are only attended by a small number of persons, who by means of a ring are able to get the stores at ridiculously low prices?

29. Mr. JOWETT

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office if he will publish in the "Board of Trade Journal" a list of all the lots of so-called unserviceable and obsolete stores sold by auction by order of the Secretary of State for War since the commencement of the present War, along with the catalogued description of each lot and the price obtained for each lot?


I am afraid that I cannot publish such a return as my hon. Friend desires, as its compilation would impose a great deal of extra work on the staffs of the War Office and the commands which in the present pressure they could hardly undertake.


Will the hon. Gentleman consider the point advanced by my hon. Friend, because the suggestion contained in the question would help to widen the area of interest and would practically break down the ring?


Yes, Sir, I shall be glad to take any steps to secure the fullest prices we are able to get.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in the "Engineer" of Saturday last there appears an advertisement offering to sell copper?


I am afraid I cannot answer that question.