Incompetence worried Sir Alec

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The Conservative Prime Minister, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, was worried about "gross incompetence" in Whitehall when he learned that an electronics firm had been allowed to make a profit of 82 per cent on costs on a big missile contract.

His handwritten comments on internal documents, briefing him about the controversy about to break. On the day the inquiry report was published, Ferranti announced it would repay £4.25 million of the profits.

The report criticised the Ministry of Aviation, whose officials were responsible for agreeing the price paid, and Ferranti, for taking "profits that could not be regarded as fair and reasonable".

The documents show that the first Sir Alec knew of the scandal was while he was on holiday in Scotland. The file opens with a teleprinter copy he received there on January 10, 1964