HC Deb 14 March 1917 vol 91 cc1118-9W

asked the Home Secretary (1) whether he is aware that during the term of office of the late Government a brush manufacturing industry to keep employed undesirable aliens was started in the Isle of Man and latterly at Islington; whether the brushes so manufactured are entirely used by the Government, or are being put on the market for sale to the public; if so, whether the middleman for their sale is the firm of Messrs. Strachan, 8, Bury Court, St. Mary Axe, E.C., who are large importers of foreign-made brushes, and whose interests are therefore diametrically opposed to the British manufacture of brushes; and whether he intends to continue the monopoly of sale to this firm; and (2) whether he or his predecessor in office have had any interview with the British Brush Manufacturers' Association as to the disposal of the output of brushes manufactured by undesirable aliens now in internment; whether, as a result of such interview, the association was informed that it had not been possible to induce the Director of Army Contracts to draw his supplies from this source; whether a Mr. Till, on behalf of the association, was informed that if brush manufacturers required supplies of these brushes they would only be allowed to purchase them through Messrs. Strachan and Company; and whether he will explain why these brushes cannot be disposed of by sale in open market after consultation with the British Brush Manufacturers' Association?


I beg leave to answer these questions together, and to refer to the answers which I gave to similar questions on 28th February and 7th and 13th March. So far as the present questions raise new points, I would say that Government contracts have now been obtained, and the brushes are made for Government use as far as possible; but there is necessarily a residue, which is disposed of in the open market. On this point Messrs. Strachan and Company, who have rendered valuable assistance to the Government in undertaking all necessary arrangements for supplying the materials, supervising the manufacture, and disposing of the output, are ready to act in consultation with the Brush Manufacturers' Association.