§ 26. Mr. LOUIS SMITH
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether his attention has been called to any contract awarded by local authorities or railway companies to foreign tenderers, in which there was reason to believe the economic standards of the workers in competing countries were not taken into account; and, if so, whether he will state the names of such bodies allotting these contracts?
The question put to me is whether my attention has been drawn to any such contract, and my answer is "No." If my attention is drawn to it, I will look into it.
§ 45. Mr. LAMBERT
asked the Prime Minister, if, in view of the recommenda- 1611 tions given to railway companies and local authorities that, in accepting tenders, not only must a preference be given to British produce, but that consideration must be given to the economic condition of the workers in competing countries, he will see that a similar practice is followed in all services controlled by the Government?
§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald)
It is the accepted policy of Government Departments to give a preference in their contracts to British goods, regard being had to all the circumtances, including the compartive prices of British and foreign articles. I do not think it necessary to give any further instructions on the subject.
Sir F. HALL
Will the right hon. Gentleman explain what he means by comparative prices? Are we to understand that if there is any decrease in the price of foreign goods the preference will be given to the foreigner, notwithstanding that that affects employment in this country?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Not at all. It simply means that in deciding matters like this everything that should enter into a sound economical business calculation is taken into account.
§ Captain Sir WILLIAM BRASS
Are we to understand that it is only when the prices are the same that preference is given to our own producers?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I did not say "only." When the prices are the same, undoubtedly that preference will be given; but I did not say "only."
§ Sir NICHOLAS GRATTAN-DOYLE
May I ask whether the good example shown in regard to the railway companies cannot be extended to the other industries of the country?