HC Deb 09 December 1970 vol 808 cc406-7
29. Mr. J. H. Osborn

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is satisfied that the contract for old people's flats at Shamrock Road, Ridge-way Road and Cotleigh Crescent were awarded to the Public Works Department in Sheffield, as a result of a competitive tender against outside contractors; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Channon

Sheffield Corporation has asked whether these schemes may be awarded as continuations contracts based on schemes won in competition by the P.W.D. I will consider this when full details are available. I am keeping under very close review the operation of circular 57/69 which deals with the award of housing contracts to D.L.Os.

Mr. Osborn

Is my hon. Friend aware that many ratepayers are concerned that they are not obtaining value for money when work is sub-contracted to the public works department? What can he do to ensure that his Ministry helps this situation?

Mr. Channon

I can assure my hon. Friend that in every case where direct labour organisations ask for this work to be won as continuation schemes I myself now consider the details very carefully. If there is any evidence that ratepayers are not getting value for money, I shall have no hesitation in turning them down.

Mr. Mulley

Before he decides, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will study the record of the public works department in Sheffield, including the internationally-acclaimed Park Hill flats scheme in my constituency, and will not allow the vendetta against the public works department conducted by his hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn) to persuade him, as it persuaded his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science, to cancel the contract, with great detriment to the education of students in the Sheffield Polytechnic recently?

Mr. Chanson

I certainly accept not a single word of what the right hon. Gentleman says about the "vendetta" of my hon. Friend. I will examine this proposal, when it comes to me, on its merits.

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