HL Deb 10 March 1942 vol 122 c224

My Lords, I beg to ask the second question standing in my name.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government whether the practice of entering into contracts on the basis of cost plus a percentage of profit is still in operation, and how many public works now in progress have been allotted without obtaining tenders from a number of competitive firms.]


My Lords, the undesirability of placing building and civil engineering contracts on a prime-cost basis is recognized by all the Departments concerned, but it is not possible to avoid the system entirely, particularly on maintenance and urgent works of a special nature. In such cases a fixed fee in preference to a percentage is adopted to cover overheads and profit, wherever possible. Arrangements have been made recently under which any proposals by Government Departments to place major contracts on a prime-cost basis must be submitted for prior consideration by a Committee representative of the six principal contracting Departments. In regard to the second part of the noble Lord's question, information is not readily available of the number of contracts now in progress which have been allotted without competition. So far as my Ministry is concerned, no major contract has been so placed in the last nine months