HC Deb 11 April 1967 vol 744 cc959-60
23. Mr William Hamilton

asked the Minister of Technology if he will list the number of aicraft projects the original price quotations of which have been reduced as a result of the Lang Report's recommendations; and what is the total sum represented by the difference between the original and the new quotations.

Mr. Benn

When prices are negotiated, original quotations are often higher than the prices eventually agreed. It is not possible to ascribe these reductions to particular causes or to estimate how the recommendations in the Lang Report which have been implemented may have affected the course of negotiations.

Mr. Hamilton

How much of the extraordinary profits now to be repaid were on repetitive work? Second, will my right hon. Friend now assert the principle that there can be public audit only by public ownership?

Mr. Benn

That is a separate question. The principle of post-costing, and the reason why it is necessary in repetitive contracts, is that each new contract can be negotiated on the basis of full information for Government and firm about the out-turn of the last.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

Does not all this show the great importance of our considering the introduction in this country of a contracting system similar to that operated by the United States under which any saving on the initial contract is of considerable influence in the securing of another order for the company concerned?

Mr. Benn

There is another Question down about contract procedures later, and I would rather deal with any points then.