§ 65. Major GLYN
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions whether, in the opinion of the representatives of the Disposals Board in France and Flanders, about 5,500 men are all that are at present required for those services; and whether arrangements have now been made for the guarding of stores that have been disposed of to the French Government in all the forward areas and certain ports and the Dieppe area to be performed by the French police authorities?
§ The DEPUTY MINISTER OF MUNITIONS (Mr. Kellaway)
It has now been agreed with the War Office in France that 5,000 men are sufficient for the services of the Disposal Board in France. This number it is anticipated will rapidly be reduced. Arrangements have been made with the French Government that the responsibility for the custody of stores disposed of to them shall be undertaken by the French police authorities as from the date of transfer.
Mr. G. MURRAY
Is it not a fact that many of these dumps have disappeared and cannot be accounted for?
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
My hon. Friend will do well not to attach too much importance to accounts of the kind that appear in the picturesque Press.
§ 66. Mr. SITCH
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions if he is aware that the Disposal Board's official organ, "Surplus," dated 16th February, contains the announcement that civilian suits are available for sale by the Board through private treaty; whether on the following day, 17th February, he authorised the despatch to the Bradford Corporation of a telegram to the effect that civilian suits were no longer available for disposal; will he explain the discrepancy in these two statements; did the Board receive an offer from the Corporation named of 40s. each for 5,000 civilian suits, which offer was ultimately increased, on 13th February, to 45s. per 31 suit; whether at any time similar suits have been disposed of in small or large quantities at less than 45s. each to private traders; and has he received representations from the Bradford and District Chamber of Trade and/or any other private interests with the view to stopping any further supplies of civilian suits or other clothing to the Bradford Corporation?
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
The statements contained in the first parts of the question are correct. The proofs of "Surplus" are necessarily corrected by the various Sections several days prior to the date of publication, and it is clearly stated in that publication that all goods are offered subject to their being unsold at the time when applications are received. With regard to the latter parts of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by me in the House on the 25th February to a similar question asked by the hon. Member for Smethwick. No quantities, either large or small, of similar suits have been sold to anyone at less than 45s., and no representations of the kind referred to have been received.
§ 68. Mr. BRIANT
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Munitions what is the number of suits of clothes which has recently been sold to a single purchaser: and what was the price obtained?
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
The number of suits of clothes recently sold to a single purchaser is approximately 577,000. The Ministry extensively advertised for three weeks offering small parcels of twenty-five suits for sale, but these offers met with a very poor response. In view of the small extent of the sales of small lots, and the time it would have taken to dispose of the large quantity in lots of twenty-five, the Ministry decided to sell the lot referred to. The sale price was 45s. per suit, and the Ministry imposed the condition that the retail prices at which the suits are disposed of to the public in the United Kingdom should not exceed 63s. per suit.