HC Deb 21 October 1915 vol 74 cc2011-3W

asked the Under-Secretary for War (1) whether he will state the actual duties expected to be performed by Messrs. Knowles and Wells in return for the seven and a half guineas a day which is paid them; will he define in what exact particulars the duties of these two persons are in excess of those performed by the City of London meat inspectors on Smithfield Market and the food inspectors of the ports of London and Liverpool; whether the meat inspectors' hours are much longer than either Messrs. Knowles or Wells; and whether their duties commence at five o'clock in the morning while those of Messrs. Knowles and Wells do not start until eight or nine; also (2) whether the duties performed by Messrs. Perfect and Company, apart from inspection, are less than those usually performed by cold storage companies for firms storing goods with them; whether the work of receiving and storing the goods and dispatching the same to the troops is so simple in character that Messrs. Perfect leave it to be superintended by persons who before the outbreak of the War were paid 30s. to £2 a week in Smithfield Market; whether the bookkeeping is actually performed by junior clerks at small wages; and whether, in view of the appeal to the working classes to retrench expenditure, he will consider the advisability of retrenching the outlays made to this firm?


I would refer the hon. Member to the answers which I gave him on this subject on the 23rd September and 8th June last, to which I have nothing to add.


likewise asked the Under-Secretary for War what qualifications are possessed by the special inspectors appointed under the quartermaster-general to inspect and report on Army food supplies; whether in the matter of meat they have had any special training as practical butchers; whether they hold the certificate of the Sanitary Inspectors Examination Board; what is their remuneration; and how many of them are employed?


The duties of the inspectors referred to are not confined to inspection of Army food supplies but comprise the quartermaster-general services generally, such as inspection of clothing, equipment, quartering, disposal of refuse, supervision of the Army Schools of Cookery, improvement of messing arrangements and avoidance of waste, etc. They hold schools of instruction for officers and give lectures. For these multifarious duties they possess the necessary qualifications of business ability, energy, tact, and common sense, with some military experience. They have had no special training as practical butchers, etc., nor is this considered necessary or desirable in their case, as such services are performed by the local health officer. The number employed is 13, and includes 10 inspectors graded as deputy assistant quartermaster-generals at £550, and three assistants graded as staff captains at £400.