HC Deb 16 June 1915 vol 72 cc648-9
6. Mr. WATT

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the method of traders and manufacturers getting themselves on the lists of his Department before being able to offer their wares to his Department has undergone any change since the outbreak of the War; and whether it is intended that the formation of these lists will be handed over to the new Munitions Minister?


Where applications are made by contractors for admission to the Admiralty list the normal procedure in times of peace is for the firms in question to be asked to give references. These references are inquired into and, if satisfactory, an Admiralty officer is sent to inspect the firms' works with a view to seeing whether they are competent to supply the articles for which they desire to tender. This procedure is still being followed in the case of ordinary stores and in cases where the quality required is such that inspection is a necessity. Where, however, in the present national emergency, it has been considered in the public interest to do so, we have dispensed with the usual preliminary inquiries, and in some cases we have issued invitations to firms who appeared likely to be able to assist us without waiting for them to apply to us. As regards the latter part of the question, it would in any case be our duty to keep the Minister of Munitions of War closely advised as to our operations, so that there may be complete co-ordination between the Departments purchasing munitions of war. But my hon. Friend must wait for the precise administrative powers and duties of the Minister in question in relation to the supply of munitions until the Order in Council prescribed in Clause 1 of the Ministry of Munitions Act is issued.