§ 27. Mr. Montgomery
asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that bedding contracts awarded by his Department to the workshops for the blind at Newcastle-upon-Tyne were 84W offered at an amount less than the prime cost of the item produced; why these contracts were awarded; and if he is satisfied that the lowest tender submitted by the trade was by a firm observing the standard conditions of Government contracts for stores purchases and the conditions relating to fair wages whereby suppliers are required to pay the appropriate negotiated trade union rates.
§ Mr. Ramsden
The National Association of Workshops for the Blind is one of a number of non-profit making organisations which are given preference in the allocation of a fair share of suitable Government contracts at fair market prices. Under this scheme my Department has negotiated a contract with the Headquarters of the National Association for the supply of mattresses for the Army. I am not responsible for the financial operation of any particular workshop which has been given work under this contract by the Association.
I have no reason to suppose that the firm which submitted the lowest trade tender did not observe the standard conditions of Government contracts for stores purchases. Nor have I received any complaints either from workpeople in the trade or from the trade unions that commercial firms are paying less than the appropriate negotiated trade union rate of wages.