HC Deb 06 May 1969 vol 783 cc241-2
7. Mr. Costain

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what report he has received from the District Auditor of the Metropolitan District regarding overspending on housing schemes in 1967–68 by the direct labour department of the London Borough of Hammersmith; and whether he will make a statement.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. James MacColl)

In his interim report to the council on its 1966–67 accounts, the district auditor listed five schemes undertaken by the council's building department which had resulted in overspending during 1967–68. One scheme was for an old people's home; the rest for housing. Of these four schemes, three still showed savings compared with the next lowest tender. The fifth scheme was an ingenious, but untested, high density development which was authorised as a pilot scheme.

Mr. Costain

Will not the Minister admit that this shows further expenditure totalling about £83,000? Would it not be wise to revise Circular 50/66 in relation to the whole question of instructions governing direct labour for local authorities?

Mr. MacColl

The former Hammersmith council took immediate steps to obtain advice on how to improve its direct labour department. Unfortunately the present council has not followed that advice and is not taking any steps to improve the department.