asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that 270 men were employed for three weeks, at a place of which he has been informed, in laying a pipe-line which was then found to be of inadequate diameter so that the entire job had to be done again; who was responsible for this waste of time, labour and public money; and what action he proposes to take?
In the time available it has not been possible to complete all the necessary inquiries. I can say at once, however, that it is not the case that 270 men were employed for three weeks. The greatest number employed at any time was 67 and the present number is 48. There has been no waste of material. There does unfortunately appear to have been some error as to the position of some of the pipes in question. Inquiries as to the responsibility for this error are proceeding, and I will communicate further with my hon. Friend.
As I have said, inquiries are not completed yet, but the firm in question has carried out a large amount of work for the Admiralty very satisfactorily, and this may be one exception.