HC Deb 27 May 1936 vol 312 cc2010-1

asked the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence whether it is now the policy of the Service Departments to divert Government work to Special Areas from firms that have carried out such work in previous years and who have laid down the necessary plant and have skilled labour; and whether he will consider reversing this policy in view of the urgency of production and the harnessing of industry for Government work?


No, Sir. The general practice of the Departments in dealing with firms who are regular suppliers is to proceed by competitive tendering. But the Government's plans necessitate an extension of output, and it is in this connection particularly, subject to the condition of other things being equal, that preference is given to a firm in the Special Areas and other areas suffering from severe and prolonged unemployment. The point was explained at some length by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour in the Debate on 3rd March last.


Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the Sheffield metal trades are still short of work and that they have 50,000 people unemployed?


Yes, Sir. If Sheffield is to be treated as a Special or distressed area, the considerations which I have mentioned will be borne in mind.

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