HC Deb 28 November 1967 vol 755 cc211-2
8. Mr. Murton

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what is the result of the discussions which he has had with representatives of the London Borough of Southwark regarding the direct labour building department of that borough; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. MacColl

The District Auditor has recently made an interim report to the Council on his investigation into the accounts of the direct labour department. This is a matter for the Council in the first place, and it will, I understand, shortly be considering the report. My right hon. Friend has not had any discussions with it about it, but he is keeping in touch with the position.

Mr. Murton

Is it not a dreadful scandal that £447,000 has been lost in two years by direct labour? Would it not be a good thing if the right hon. Gentleman reversed the decision of his predecessor and once more allowed some competition in contracts?

Mr. MacColl

These cases when they do occur are cases which my right hon. Friend would not want to defend. That does not alter the principle that in general direct labour has operated in many cases to get down the tender prices of private buildings.

Mr. Rippon

Will the Parliamentary Secretary say what cases?

Mr. MacColl

In one or two cases in Southwark, I think.