HC Deb 22 November 1939 vol 353 c1197
12. Mr. Groves

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that the continued practice of his Department to place orders for sanitary fittings requisite for camps and aerodromes with manufacturers causes great hardship among merchants and if continued will mean an increase in the number of men unemployed; and that prices of such materials are controlled so that purchases through a merchant involves no extra expenditure as merchants are specially equipped to deal with the details and supervision of such services?

Sir K. Wood

I see no reason to vary the existing practice of the Air Ministry, which is to buy on the most economical terms, whether from merchants or manufacturers.

Mr. Groves

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are 26,000 people engaged in this industry and that the continuation of the practice which is at present followed will lead to closing down in many cases thereby leading to more unemployment, and will he consider giving the numerous merchants in the trade an opportunity of tendering for these supplies on an equal footing with the contractors?

Sir K. Wood

I shall be glad to look into anything which the hon. Member sends me.