asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether, in view of the Report of the Geddes Committee that printing and similar enterprises by Government Departments cannot be as economical as if undertaken by public tender, he will take steps to review the arrangements for carrying on the Government printing works with a view to bringing this Government trading department to an end as speedily as possible?
The statement contained in the first part of the question is not a correct rendering of the passage in the Report of the Committee on National Expenditure, which runs:
We cannot think that as a general rule such enterprise by Government Departments
can be as economical as public tender, but such considerations as temporary rings in the market and other abnormal circumstances may otherwise justify a departure from principle. At the end of the three years' trial the matter can be reviewed.
The Government printing works are being maintained for an experimental period of three years, from June, 1920, and before the end of that period the question will be reviewed.
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the Departmental Committee which was set up last year to inquire into the matter has reported, or whether it has ever sat?