§ 10. Mr. Piratin
asked the Minister of Works how many Government office maintenance workers are being threatened with redundancy; and, in view of the fact that private firms are employed to do much of the work in Government buildings, whether he will consider retaining these workers and employing them on carrying out the work done by outside firms.
§ Mr. Key
I assume that the hon. Member refers to engineering maintenance workers in the Inner London area. The number of redundant men will depend on the rate of progress in releasing requisitioned premises, and I cannot give an exact figure. The number of men at present affected is about 130, but it may increase. It is normal practice to do routine engineering maintenance by direct labour. Direct labour is also employed on urgent works of repair and adaptation whenever its use would make for economy and speed, but I cannot authorise work to be done by direct labour merely for the sake of avoiding redundancy. I have, however, reviewed the arrangements for deciding which jobs should be done by contract and which by direct labour, and I am hopeful that in consequence the size of the redundancy problem will be lessened.