HC Deb 31 January 1940 vol 356 cc1120-1
12. Mr. A. Jenkins

asked the First Commissioner of Works whether his attention has been called to the large number of Government contracts in Wales and Monmouthshire which have been given to firms from other areas, while the organisation, equipment, and often the personnel of local contractors are unemployed; and will he see to it that in future in all cases when costs are equal local firms are given the first opportunity of carrying out Government work?

The First Commissioner of Works (Mr. Ramsbotham)

The policy of my Department with regard to the employment of local contractors was explained on Thursday last in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for East Rhondda (Mr. Mainwaring). As regards the last part of the Question, I can give the assurance that, cost and all other considerations being equal, a local firm will always be selected.

14. Sir Robert Bird

asked the First Commissioner of Works whether lie is aware that at the present time the construction of Government buildings in the districts of Wolverhampton, South Shropshire and South Staffordshire is carried out by contractors outside this area, whilst local firms have been generally ignored, and that the local building trade, through their association, have declared they possess the necessary facilities for handling all this Government work and therefore claim they should be given opportunities to tender for it; and will he give these firms this opportunity?

Mr. Ramsbotham

I do not think that my hon. Friend's criticisms can apply to contracts let by my Department. Invitations to tender for two substantial contracts only in the area mentioned have been issued since the outbreak of war and seven tenders were received in each case. In one instance, all were from firms in the neighbourhood and one received the contract. In the other case, three were from firms in the same town, three were from firms in towns within a fifty miles radius, and one from a firm established at a greater distance. The last was accepted because the price was lowest.

Sir P. Hannon

Who is responsible for these contracts? Is it not the fact that contracts are being fixed with firms enormous distances away from the site of the works? Is anything being done to bring local contractors into play in these cases?

Mr. Ramsbotham

I can only answer for contracts made by my own Department.

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