§ Captain BOWYER
asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that, prior to their establishments being controlled, certain locomotive manufacturers accepted contracts at fixed prices for construction and supply to British railway companies; that in almost all cases rough or raw materials were purchased by contractors and the work commenced before the orders could be cancelled; and that in some cases the railway companies refuse to pay any part of the increased costs attached to completion of the contracts; and whether he will take steps to see that these manufacturers are not made to suffer, and that allowance will be made for the increased costs now prevailing?
Mr. J. HOPE
I have been asked to answer this question. The difficulty to which my hen, and gallant Friend refers424W is not peculiar to contracts for railway material. While I am not competent to advise on the legal point involved, I believe I am right in saying that provision has been made by the Courts (Emergency Powers) Acts 1917-1919 for protecting manufacturers where, in consequence of Government restrictions or directions, the terms of a contract cannot be enforced without serious hardship, and, consequently, that it is open to such manufacturers to apply to the Court for relief.