HC Deb 20 February 1940 vol 357 cc1135-6
41. Mr. A. C. Reed

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the expressed intention of the Government to spread their contracts for building work, he has been able to give the builders and contractors in Exeter and the south-west of England opportunities of tendering for any work for his Department?

Mr. Stanley

During the last two months, invitations to tender for War Department works contracts have been addressed to 29 firms in the south-west of England. The number of invitations averaged four for each firm during that period.

Mr. Reed

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is still the practice to give out orders on a cost-plus basis to big building firms for buildings in the West of England.

Mr. Stanley

No, Sir. That was a temporary system due to the need for speedy building last summer. Wherever possible, and in almost every case, the work is put out to tender.

Brigadier-General Sir Henry Croft

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that in further contracts substantial building firms within 20 miles of the proposed works will have an opportunity of tendering?

Mr. Stanley

I certainly could not accept a limit of 20 miles. I should like to throw them open to any substantial firm capable of carrying out contracts of this magnitude within a reasonable distance, and that is the policy of the War Office.

Mr. Boyco

Could not the Building Federation in the district be informed when these tenders are being invited?

Colonel Burton

Could we have some assurance that local labour will be employed?