17. Sir MERVYN MANNINGHAMBULLER
asked the Secretary of State for War if his attention has been called to a newspaper advertisement announcing the further release for sale by his Department of B5 regulation Army boots; if he will state how many pairs of such 174 boots have been sold to any firms within each of the last five years; the price at which such boots were sold; and the dates on which the boots were originally supplied by the contractor to the Royal Army Clothing Department, and the price paid for them?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the WAR OFFICE (Captain Douglas King)
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, I am only in a position to give the information from 1st April, 1923—the date on which the War Department took over from the late Disposals Board the responsibility for the sale of Army boots. The figures for this period are:
As regards the third part, it is contrary to established practice to disclose contract prices, and as regards the last part, these boots were part of the supplies delivered during the War, and it is not possible to give the various dates on which they were received.
Pairs. April to December, 1923 … Nil. 1924 … 20,895 1925 … 66,435 1926 … 20,188
§ Sir M. MANNINGHAM-BULLER
Is the hon. and gallant Member not aware of the considerable damage that is done to the trade by a sudden dumping upon the market of these boots below cost price?
§ Captain KING
I am afraid we have to sell surplus stores. I am not aware of the damage to which the hon. and gallant Member refers.
Can the hon. and gallant Member say whether the loss on these boots is small enough to justify keeping them until they are required?
§ Mr. R. MORRISON
Can the hon. and gallant Member say why it is impossible for these boots to be used in the Army in the ordinary way?
§ 18. Sir M. MANNINGHAM-BULLER
asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that in December last a con 175 siderable number of boots from unused war stocks considered unfit for Army requirements were sold to dealers in surplus stocks; if such boots were inspected and passed into store; upon what grounds they were considered as unfit for Army requirements; and whether it is the policy, and, if not, why, to hold over any excessive stock at any period and take it into consideration when further orders are issued?
§ Captain KING
The answer to the first, second and last parts of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the third part, the boots, which were made of War-time material, were found unfit for Army requirements, owing to deterioration of the leather.