HC Deb 04 April 1984 vol 57 c953
9. Mr. Ernie Ross

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what costs to his Department were involved in terminating the appointment of Mr. Alfred as chairman of the Property Services Agency.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

My officials are in touch with Mr. Alfred on the amount to be paid by reason of the termination of his appointment.

Mr. Ross

Does the Secretary of State admit that he sacked Mr. Alfred as chairman of the Property Services Agency because of the rampant corruption and masonic influence that exists in the PSA? Does he agree that it is time to bring in the police for a thorough investigation?

Mr. Jenkin

I make it absolutely clear that there is no suggestion, and never has been, that Mr. Alfred was in any way implicated in any of the corruption cases. I want that to be firmly understood. His three-year service contract, which was due to run until the end of this year, was terminated by mutual agreement. In those circumstances, it is entirely appropriate that we should consider what compensation payment to make.

Mr. Tim Smith

Does my right hon. Friend agree that one of the problems with the PSA is that it is so large that it is difficult to manage? Will he use the opportunity that has now arisen to examine the agency's functions to see what scope there is for further privatisation of them and for the additional use of design and construct contracts?

Mr. Jenkin

My hon. Friend has put his finger firmly on the problems—the size and diversity of the PSA. I must point out to him that 100 per cent. of its main construction works and over 90 per cent. of its maintenance works are put out to private contract. Within a short time we hope that up to 60 per cent. of its design work will be put out to private contract. There are a number of major questions about the management and organisation of the PSA, and I assure my hon. Friend that we have them under active study.