§ 92. Mr. HANNON
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War, with reference to the contract for preserved corned beef for the Army which was placed with Messrs, Armour and Company, if he can state bow many tenders were received from the 24 British firms to which invitations to tender were sent; whether he is aware that the small response of Dominion packers to the invitation to tender issued in Australia was due to insufficient time being allowed for the preparation and receipt of tenders; and whether he will take steps to ensure that in future ample time will be given for the preparation and receipt of tenders, with a view to Government requirements being drawn from within the Empire?
§ Mr. GWYNNE
With regard to the first part of the question, the number of tenders received from the 24 firms referred to was four, of which one was for South American meat only. With regard to the second part, the period allowed for the return of the tender's in question was seven weeks. I am not aware that the small response from Australian packers was entirely due, as suggested, to the comparatively short time allowed. If the requirements were cabled to Australia, I presume there was time. I am, however, 2501 anxious to do everything possible to facilitate Australia tendering, and it has always been the Department's practice to allow 13 weeks for the return of tenders for preserved meat when possible. This policy will be maintained wherever practicable, but on the tendering in question it was not possible to allow longer than seven weeks, as the supplies were urgently required.