HC Deb 21 July 1970 vol 804 cc221-2
19. Mr. Hilton

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works whether he will reduce the number of Departmental contracts let on a fixed-price basis, is view of the sporadic and large increases in costs within the building industry.

Mr. Amery

I am considering representations made to me by the industry on this subject.

Mr. Hilton

Does the Minister agree that in a period of serious and sporadic rises any contractor on a fixed-price tender is taking a gamble which is not good for him, for his operatives, or for the client, and that urgent consideration must be given to the situation?

Mr. Amery

There are strong arguments on the industry's side which the hon. Gentleman was condensing. The hon. Gentleman must also remember that I am anxious to do nothing which will reduce demand at a time when one of the most important factors in the industry's prospects is to stimulate demand.

Mr. Emery

Does my right hon. Friend realise that his Ministry is the largest in the Government concerned with letting building contracts and that there is considerable concern about the way in which the contracting has been done in the past? Do I gather from my right hon. Friend's reply that he is making an overall review of the way in which building contracts are being let?

Mr. Amery

Yes, that is the case. I am making an overall review.