§ Major CHAPPLE
asked the Minister of Munitions whether he is aware that 8,805 artificial limbs have been made for our soldiers by private firms, at a cost of £127,293; that over 7,000 additional men who have already lost their limbs have still to be supplied; that the suggestions and experience of limbless men are now being taken advantage of by private firms; that the cost of renewals and repairs will be a continually recurring one; and will he, in view of these facts, and in the interest of economy and efficiency, institute an investigation into the cost of production, in order to ascertain whether these limbs can be made by the Government?
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
The figures given in the question are approximately correct, and it is the case that the cost of renewals and repairs will be a recurring one. Whether it would be more conducive to economy and efficiency to undertake manufacture by the State than to continue to get the appliances from the firms engaged on the industry is a question on which opinion is divided. The Pensions Ministry would not hesitate, however, to adopt the former alternative if there was reason to suppose that the prices charged by the firms in question were considerably in excess of intrinsic value. The careful watch that is kept by the Ministry on the cost of production as compared with the prices charged does not indicate that the action suggested in the question is called for at present.