asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that Mr. Beckett, of Manchester, who has the local contact for the supply of surgical boots to the Ministry of Pensions, lets the work out to sub-contract and that the boots are made by a man named York at Long Buckby: and whether he will have inquiries made, and if it be found that the work is being put out to sub-contract, will arrange for fresh tenders or award the contract to the firm who successfully carried out the contract in previous years?
My right hon. Friend is aware that the firm at present holding the contract for the supply of surgical boots in the area mentioned has, in accordance with what is understood to be customary in the trade, subcontracted for part of the work. The work is being satisfactorily performed and my right hon. Friend is not aware of any reason that would justify him in adopting the suggestion in the last part of the question. When the present contract has expired tenders will, in accordance with the usual practice of the Ministry, be invited from all firms capable of supplying what is required.
Would the hon. and gallant Gentleman receive representations from the union concerned with the matter, in as much as the contract is much below the price being paid by the Ministry?
I will convey that to my right hon. Friend. So long as the Fair Wages Clause is observed all the Ministry are concerned with is that the delivery is up to contract and up to time.