HC Deb 09 April 1919 vol 114 cc2028-9
74. Major E. A. KNIGHT

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that at recent sales of surplus Government stock in South Africa hundreds of motor-cycle tyres, 26 ins. by 2½ ins., by 2¼ins., were sold at far below cost, while at the same time tenders were being invited for exactly similar stores; that new B.S.A. motor cycles are being sold at £25 to £42 each, these machines having cost the Government about £75 each; that new Dunlop, Spencer, Moulton, and other tyres, 875 millimetres by 105 millimetres, are being sold at less than £3 each, about half the wholesale English price; that at a recent sale two Prince Henry type Vauxhall cars, new, and in perfect condition, were sold for £105 each, and whether he will state the names of the auctioneers and the names of the War Office officials who are responsible for these sales?


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions whether he is aware that the military authorities in South Africa are selling by auction large quantities of unused pneumatic motor-car tyres, thereby flooding the local markets to the injury of British rubber tyre manufacturers who have large trade interests in the Union of South Africa; if he will explain why in these circumstances the Ministry of Munitions at home continue to requisition for military purposes large purchases of tyres of precisely similar types and sizes to those which are being sold by auction in South Africa, at a time when British manufacturers are in urgent need of replenishing their stocks to enable them to recover their foreign and colonial trade, which they were compelled to neglect during the War owing to the necessity of meeting the demands of the Mechanical Transport Department, and what action, if any, he proposes to take in the matter?

Captain GUEST

I have no particulars at present of the sales of surplus stock in South Africa, but if my hon. and gallant Friend will let me have specific details as to where and when the sales to which he refers took place, I will have inquiries made.