HC Deb 17 October 1912 vol 42 cc1428-30W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can state what salary is paid to Colonel Crompton as consulting engineer to the Road Board, and whether the conditions of his employment allow him to be interested in particular methods of forming road crusts; whether the Board have the advice of any salaried engineer other than Colonel Crompton in distributing among local authorities the large sums which they devote to the improvement of road crusts; whether Colonel Crompton is a director of Crompton and Company, Limited, and of the Aron Electricity Meter Company, which have business with local authorities; whether he is aware that on 5th October, 1911, Colonel Crompton and a relative jointly applied for a patent for a method of road surfacing, and that on 22nd May, 1912, Colonel Crompton and another applied for a patent for road rollers; whether he is aware that two companies, called Taroads, Limited, and the Praed Construction Company, Limited, are engaged in exploiting Colonel Crompton's method of road surfacing; whether Colonel Crompton's relative, who was on 5th October, 1911, the joint applicant for a, patent for this process, is in the employment of these companies or either of them; whether he is aware that on 6th September, 1912, Colonel Crompton addressed from the Road Board offices a letter to road surveyors in the employment of local authorities, who are or may be applicants for grants from the Board, asking them to visit with him a road reconstructed by Taroads, Limited, on his method and to remain with him to tea, visiting his laboratory and various means of testing road materials; and whether Colonel Crompton's employment by the Road Board will be continued?


The salary paid to Colonel Crompton as consulting engineer to the Road Board is £670 per annum, out of which he provides his own office and staff. The conditions of his employment are that he is employed only as consulting engineer, his advice being sought on technical questions, within the scope of his knowledge and experience, when considered necessary. He has no general or executive duties. The Board have in their employment a fully qualified road engineer and also have the assistance of an Advisory Engineering Committee, whose constitution and duties are set forth in Appendix No. 10 in the first Annual Report of the Board. Colonel Crompton carries on business as a consulting engineer on his own account, and I understand that in the ordinary course of his business he prepared a specification for surfacing roads with a mixture of asphalt and sand. This specification is neither patented nor proprietary, and Colonel Crompton has no interest in the two companies, Taroads, Limited, and Praed Construction Company, Limited, but he frequently acts as consulting engineer for them. The Kensington Borough Council, without any communication with 'the Road Board, contracted with Taroads, Limited, for the execution of surfacing work in Addison Road in accordance with Colonel Crompton's specification, and, following a common practice of engineers, Colonel Crompton invited a company of expert road surveyors to inspect the work being executed. This was done without any communication with the Road Board. It is true that the invitations were printed on paper with a printed heading, "The Road Board," supplied to Colonel Crompton for use in connection with matters referred to him for advice, but Colonel Crompton has explained to the Board that this was due to a mistake in his office. The Board have no intention of ceasing to avail themselves of Colonel Crompton's services as consulting engineer.