§ 7. Mr. HOHLER
asked the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware that the price of slops, e.g.,all the clothing, caps, boots, brushes, blankets, etc., in short, everything that a sailor requires and which he has to buy has been very largely increased since the victory of Jutland; is he aware that the order increasing these prices was issued on the 14th July but antedated to the 1st July; that the quality of these articles is not so good as before the War; and that the wear-and-tear is greater in times of war than in peace; and will he consider whether, in the circumstances of the case, he can withdraw the new prices and restore the old?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
The question of these prices was most carefully considered by the Admiralty, with the object that the general increase in the cost of production of clothing throughout the country should affect the men of the Navy as little as possible. In the majority of cases the revised issuing prices are much below the actual cost of the articles themselves, and very much less than the prices at which they could be purchased on shore. I would instance boots, shoes, blankets, serge, duck, and flannel. The 1st of July is the usual date for the issue of a new price list for the year, and it would have been most inconvenient for accounting pur- 1830 poses to bring in new prices for a broken period of a quarter. The delay of a few days in issuing the price list was unavoidable. As regards the suggestion that the quality of certain articles is not so good as before the War, I would observe that under war conditions departure from the strict Admiralty specification is unavoidable at times, but I am not aware j that the wearing qualities of the articles have been prejudiced by such changes. I should add that where conditions have entailed undue wear-and-tear of clothing, special action has been taken; for example, there is an annual free issue of warm clothing, which includes articles of general wear which the men normally provide for themselves, namely, jersey, comforter, drawers, stockings, socks, and in some cases flannel vests. Again, naval ratings employed on active service on shore, where the wear-and-tear of clothes is greater than on board ship, have the worn-out clothing replaced free of charge. And again, the establishment of protective clothing (e.g. oilskins, sea boots, duffle suits, and in some cases blankets) has been largely increased, thus indirectly saving the wear-and-tear of the men's own clothing.
§ Mr. HOHLER
Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider with regard to the services named that this concession ought to be made by the nation?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
As I pointed out, the revised issuing prices are much below the actual cost of the articles themselves, and very much less than the prices at which they could be purchased on shore.