§ 44. Sir R. COOPER
asked the First Commissioner of Works if any contracts were placed by his Department during the War without a break clause; and, if so, will he state, approximately, the number of such contracts and equally the number of contracts containing such a clause?
§ The FIRST COMMISSIONER Of WORKS (Sir Alfred Mond)
No contracts made by my Department during the War contained a break clause. My reply to a supplementary question last 1716 Monday was given under a misapprehension. In regard to the furniture contracts, to which I understand the hon. Baronet to refer, it would have been inadvisable to insert such a clause, even if the contractors would have agreed to one. It was necessary to induce furniture manufacturers to set aside their private work, for which there was a great demand, and to concentrate on the urgent Government requirements. Instead of having to make compensation under a break clause my Department has been free to negotiate with contractors for the cancellation or diversion of their contracts, and as a matter of fact has secured the cancellation of over £300,000 worth for the small compensation of £50.
§ Sir R. COOPER
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that his is the only Department which has not such a clause in all war contracts?
§ Sir A. MOND
I have gone carefully into the matter, and, looking through one of the break clause contracts, I am very glad that we have not got them.