§ 24. Mr. ALBERY
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty the nature of an Admiralty contract which was placed in the United States in July last where the difference in price amounted to 120 per cent. as compared with the lowest British tender?
§ Mr. G. HALL
The contract in question was for drill blocks and clamps of an American design. In the tender invitations, firms were asked whether they could offer any British-made substitutes, and only one firm offered a British article which was approximately 120 per cent. higher in price than the American article. The total value of the contract was small.
§ Mr. ALBERY
Is one correct in understanding that this was a very special kind of contract; and, in that case, does the hon. Gentleman think that his hon. Friend the Financial Secretary was justified in quoting it as an example of a case in which goods had to be bought abroad owing to the difference in price?
§ Mr. HALL
My hon. Friend was quite correct when he said that the amount involved was very small. I think my hon. Friend had in mind the fact that there was a general demand for these American blocks, as they are used in almost every tool-room in the country, and he thought that by calling the attention of the public to that fact, he might render a service.
Sir F. HALL
Does the hon. Gentleman think that it is in the interests of this country to placard a case of goods in this country costing 120 per cent. more than the price at which they can be obtained elsewhere?
§ 25. Mr. ALBERY
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty the nature of the principal contracts placed by the Admiralty abroad since the present Government came into office; and the total amount involved in all Admiralty contracts placed abroad during that period?
§ Mr. G. HALL
The principal foreign products obtained for the Navy since 1st July, 1929, have been corned beef, hemp and nitrate of soda. The total value of all contracts placed for foreign products (excluding oil fuel, which necessarily is largely of foreign origin) since that date is £60,000, of which the three items mentioned above account for £50,000.