HC Deb 05 January 1916 vol 77 cc939-40

asked why the War Office refused the tender of Messrs. Workman and Company, of Stroud, for 21,000 cleaning sticks for rifles, and accepted a tender for the same cleaning sticks from a middleman at an enhanced price; and why they also refused Messrs. Workman's tender for trench rammers at 2s. 3d. each, and bought rammers from another firm at 3s. and 3s. 6d. each, although they afterwards accepted rammers from Messrs. Workman at the cost price of 1s. 9d. each?


Messrs. Workman's tender for cleaning sticks was passed over, as it was found upon inquiry that they were not prepared to make a firm offer without first submitting samples. As supplies were very urgently required for use overseas, the Department could not agree to the delay which would have been involved. All orders for these articles were placed with actual manufacturers, but one maker, who was given an order on a previous occasion, was afterwards allowed to sub-let, as their machinery was found to be fully occupied with more important War Office work. The facts stated in the second part of the question are not quite correct. In April, 1915, when Messrs. Workman tendered for rammers at 2s. 3d. each, the Department was able to meet all its requirements at prices below that figure. In October last, orders were divided between Messrs. Workman and other firms at higher prices in order to obtain supplies in the time required.