§ Mr. Robert S. Jones
When considering this matter, will my hon. Friend also take into account the price of DLO annual reports? Some local authorities are charging up to £25 for such reports, which puts them well beyond the means of the ordinary ratepayer, to whom this section of the Act was supposed to apply.
§ Mr. O'Brien
Given that a number of direct labour organisations now operating on the tender basis can return a profit and that their reports are available to ratepayers, does the Minister agree that they ought to have the opportunity to tender for work outside local government —for example, private sector housing and hospital work?
§ Mr. Terlezki
Does my hon. Friend agree that the direct labour organisations should concentrate on doing a good job for the local authorities before they compete with the private sector?
§ Mr. Fatchett
If the Minister is so confident about the efficiency of private building firms, and so firm in his often-stated belief in competition, what does he have to fear if he allows the DLOs to compete in the way suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike)?
§ Mr. Heffer
Is it not time that the hon. Gentleman and his Government stopped their dogmatic and sectarian opposition to DLOs? Is he not aware that DLOs all over 414 the country have done a good job for the local ratepayers? Is he not also aware that DLOs today are, on the whole, the only bodies creating apprentices, while at the same time we hear from certain people in the industry, in certain areas, that they cannot find enough skilled labour because the cowboys have taken over? Is it not time that the DLOs were given an opportunity to tender, as my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike) asked?