§ 6. Mr. F. M. Bennett
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will now reconsider his decision not to renew contracts for identity photographs in 1177 Southern Command with Mr. Lewis Jones of Glen View, 3 Innerbrook Road, Torquay.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Army (Mr. Peter Kirk)
No, Sir. The contracts were let as a result of competitive tendering in accordance with the normal procedures and were awarded to the lowest tenderer. On the last tendering, Mr. Jones, having held the contracts for the last two years, failed to gain the contracts on price grounds.
§ Mr. Bennett
It may seem a small matter, but is not my hon. Friend aware—I think that he must be—that this individual has been a contracting photographer for the Army for 40 years without a break, that he is a disabled war pensioner from both world wars and this is his only livelihood? Further, is my hon. Friend aware that he has a long and excellent record of security to which the Army has paid tribute over and over again? Will my hon. Friend look at the matter again because, on the face of it, if considerations of saving public money are in Ministers' thoughts, he can take it that the National Assistance on which Mr. Jones now has to live far exceeds the difference on photograph tenders over a period of four or five years?
§ Mr. Kirk
I have myself looked into this case with very great care on more than one occasion, as my hon. Friend knows, but, unfortunately, I am not given much latitude on contracts. The only latitude would be if Mr. Jones, as a disabled ex-Service man, were registered on the King's National Roll. Unfortunately, neither he nor any of his competitors are so registered.
§ Mr. Bennett
In the circumstances, the only thing I can say, with some regret, is that I shall seek an early opportunity to raise this matter on the Adjournment.