§ Mr. SAMUEL SAMUEL
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that orders are being placed by the Government with some leading firms of engineers and manufacturers upon the understanding of a 10 per cent. profit basis, and that such arrangement reacts unfavourably upon smaller traders as a whole; whether he is aware that the smaller firms form in the aggregate the larger proportion of those having Government contracts; and, seeing that firms have difficulty to compete in an open 1566W market for labour without such guarantee of profit, upon a continually increasing cost of labour and of material, while larger contractors, being assured of their profits, can pay any demands for increases, can the Government meet the contractors by considering the increased cost of labour which they may have to pay?
The Board of Trade are not responsible for the arrangements connected with the orders to which the hon. Member refers, and I would therefore suggest that he should address his question to my right hon. Friends who represent the contracting Departments.