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Edinburgh Prison (Flour Tenders)

Volume 155: debated on Tuesday 20 June 1922

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asked the Secretary for Scotland whether his attention has been called to the recent tender forms for flour issued by the governor of His Majesty's Prison at Edinburgh, in which it is expressly stipulated that the tenders must be for Canadian or American flour; whether he is familiar with the position of the British flour milling industry during many months past, namely, that the industry has only been working at two-thirds of its capacity, with the result that numbers of workers in the flour milling industry are unemployed; whether he is aware that such unemployment is mainly due to the dumping of foreign flour at prices which are below those at which flour is sold in the country of origin; and whether he will issue instructions that in tenders for public contracts for supplies of flour British millers will have adequate opportunity of tendering without specific exclusion by the terms of the tender?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. No contract for imported flour was placed as a result of the issue of these forms. The contract for the flour required at Edinburgh Prison was given to a firm of British millers. The practice of the Prison Commission for Scotland is to give to British firms an opportunity of tendering in all cases, and this practice will continue in future.

Why were the words "Canadian or American" specifically set down in this form of tender?

In order to get the quotation for the price. It was subsequently discovered that the difference in price might be outweighed by the difference in quality, and accordingly an unrestricted tender was issued.