HC Deb 12 February 1987 vol 110 cc453-4
Q1. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Prime Minister what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards awarding contracts to firms which have broken the law or in respect of which inquiries about possible criminal offences are in train; and how this policy has been applied in the case of Electronic Data Systems Ltd.

The Prime Minister (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)

The Government seek to deal with contractors of integrity who can be expected to fulfil their commitments. Although information on contracts with particular firms is not all held centrally, I am not aware of any current contracts with Electronic Data Systems Ltd.

Mr. Dalyell

Does the Prime Minister's answer mean that Electronic Data Systems Ltd. is excluded from potential defence contracts?

The Prime Minister

No, the answer means what it says, that I am not aware of any current contract with Electronic Data Systems Ltd. With regard to whether it will be considered for any future contracts, it is for the Department awarding a contract to consider the eligibility of EDS for future contracts in the light of the evidence which has emerged and taking into account the nature of the contracts.

Dr. Bray

Is the Prime Minister aware that this firm is imposing a fine of some £4,000 on employees who leave within a year of completing their training? Does she agree that this is a pernicious form of wage slavery and that it reflects the failure of the Government to provide adequate training in their important industry?

The Prime Minister

The question I am asked is whether there are any contracts with this firm. The answer is as I have given, that I know of no current contracts with that firm, but in so far as any—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."]—future contracts are concerned, they will be considered in the light of all the facts, taking into account the nature of the contract. The Government's interest, as I must make quite clear to the hon. Gentleman, is to get value for money and to help improve the competitiveness of suppliers.

Forward to