HC Deb 15 March 1916 vol 80 cc2056-7
8 and 9. Mr. ASHLEY

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (1) whether an order has recently been placed by the Admiralty for ivory-handled table-knives; if so, for how many, and at what cost; and (2) whether the Admiralty has recently placed an order for electro-plated-handled knives; if so, for how many and at what cost?


Tenders were invited in respect of both articles in our annual requisition for 1916–17, in acordance with established practice. Meantime, our attention was drawn to the desirableness of using less expensive articles. We, therefore, at once suspended action and discussed the question of whether actual economy would result from the adoption of cheaper substitutes. No orders, therefore, have been placed, and the matter is-receiving careful attention.


Was action only taken; after the question was put on the Paper?


I do not know about the question. I think our attention) was called to it by a Press paragraph-We at once took action.


Does it require an intimation from the Press to induce the Admiralty to take action?


The thing is not quite so obvious. The cheaper article is no doubt immediately more economical, but the article we have been using is certainly more serviceable. It can be rebladed, and it lasts longer, and consequently fetches a higher price. The argument, after all, is not all on one side. We are very carefully considering all the circumstances.

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