asked the Secretary of State for India if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the India Office declines to allow varnish manufacturing firms in the North of England to register 844W their names on the list of contractors, and restricts competition to firms close to London only; and if he will take steps to abolish this undue preference at once?
§ Mr. MONTAGU
I have referred this matter to the High Commissioner for India, who is now directly responsible to the Government of India for the purchase of stores for that Government. He informs me that the fact is not as suggested in the question. There are upwards of 50 firms on the Store Department list for varnishes, including firms at
In one case a firm in Northumberland has been excluded from the list because of the remoteness of its works, which makes it impracticable without undue inconvenience and loss of time to carry out the approved procedure for test and inspection of varnish—matters which are of special importance in connection with supplies for use in India. No question of undue preference is therefore involved.