asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether he is aware that Canadian hay is being supplied to troops in the Aldershot Command and to other garrisons in this country; if the quality of this Canadian hay is equal to English hay; what is the price per ton; and whether, when there is good British hay for sale locally, the War Office will give preference to home-grown hay, other things being equal?
I am aware that some of the hay at present being supplied is Canadian, and I understand that it is at least equal in quality to the English hay. At Aldershot, however, the Canadian hay is less than half the total quantity supplied to date. It is the invariable practice of the Department to regard contract prices as confidential, and I regret, that I am unable to furnish particulars of them. As regards the last part of the question, it is the practice of the War Office, other things being equal, to give a preference to supplies of home production, and, although it is not considered advisable to stipulate for British hay exclusively, the hon. Member may rest assured that the great bulk of the hay supplied under War Office contracts is grown in this country.
I did not say I was discriminating against Canadian produce. I used the word "preference," and said that, all other things being equal, we gave preference to the English hay, the same as we give the Colonies preference against foreign countries.