§ 66. Mr. R. McNEILL
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the coloured poster depicting the figure of Britannia and exhorting patriotic people to buy National War Bonds was printed by the naturalised enemy firm of Weiner and Company; if so, what is the total sum payable to Weiner and Company under this contract; whether tenders were invited for this contract; whether the placing of the contract with this firm indicates that there is no British firm capable of producing coloured posters; and, if not, whether he will give an assurance that all Government contracts for printing will be confined to British firms?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
The poster referred to was printed by the firm of J. Weiner, Limited. The total sum payable was £745. Tenders were invited. The placing of the contract with this firm merely indicates that no competing firm could at the time the contract was placed give the same service as regards price, quality and delivery that J. Weiner, Limited, could give; it does not indicate that there are no other British firms capable of producing coloured posters. As regards the last part of the question, I would refer to my reply on the 24th instant to a question put by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Enfield.
§ Mr. McNEILL
Was not the answer to which my hon. Fsriend refers to the effect that when the House of Commons decided that contracts were not to go to enemy aliens the Government would act upon it, and how does he propose to give the House of Commons an opportunity of deciding the matter?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
That is not my recollection. My recollection is that the reply of the 24th instant was that this matter was under consideration. The question of stopping one contract in one comparatively small department with a firm of naturalised enemy aliens does not cover the whole question. I am having inquiries made as to what other cases there may be of a similar kind in all the other Departments of the Government, and that is a very much wider question than my hon. Friend at present realises.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Is it not the duty of the Treasury to try and get these things done as cheaply as possible?
Are we to understand that in future, in spite of all that has happened, any naturalised alien firm who can do the work cheaper will get any Government contract? Is that to be the policy?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I should be very sorry to give a contract to any other than the lowest tender, provided that the person who sent in the tender was a British subject.
§ Papers laid upon the Table by the Clerk of the House—
- 1. Supreme Court (Rules),—Copy of Rules of the Supreme Court, dated 31st July, 1918 [by Act];
- 2. Supreme Court (Rules),—Copy of Provisional Rules and Orders (Bankruptcy), dated 9th July, 1918 [by Act];
- 3. Supreme Court (Rules),—Copy of Provisional Rules and Orders (Companies, Winding-up), dated 9th July, 1918 [by Act].