§ 7. Mr. Manuel
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he has taken to ensure that a fair proportion of Government Department orders are allocated to Scottish firms.
§ Mr. Brooke
Government orders are placed by contract after competitive tendering by selected firms. Government Departments do however operate a special preference scheme whereby, other things being equal, contracts are given to firms in areas listed as development districts. These districts cover a large part of Scotland. Departments have recently reviewed their procedure for drawing up trades lists and specifications with a view to improving the opportunity of Scottish firms to tender. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has also arranged to draw the attention of Scottish firms to the possibilities of tendering for Government work.
§ Mr. Manuel
That Answer is rather similar to one that was given on 4th July in reply to a Question, not in precisely similar terms, but dealing with another aspect of the problem. Can the Chief Secretary indicate whether there have been definite consultations between Treasury Ministers and Ministers re 382 sponsible for contracting Departments so that work can be steered into development districts where there is a high rate of unemployment?
§ Mr. Brooke
Yes, Sir. There is the closest contact between Treasury Ministers and other Ministers on all these matters, and the existing arrangements give a degree of preference to all development districts.