HL Deb 30 September 1976 vol 374 cc575-6

3.22 p.m.

Baroness VICKERS

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidelines have been issued to local authorities, Government Departments, agencies and public bodies with regard to economising on furnishings and equipment.


My Lords, Government policy for restriction of expenditure in the public sector includes reductions on furnishings and equipment; but no specific guidelines have been issued generally.

Baroness VICKERS

My Lords, may I ask the noble Baroness when she intends to issue specific guidelines? Surely this would be an admirable way at this moment of getting down the costs of Government expenditure. If she wishes, I would willingly send her some examples of the extravagance of these Departments at the present time.

Baroness BIRK

My Lords, the Property Service Agency is responsible for the provision of furnishing and equipment for the Government. They are now operating on strict cash limits and have formulated priorities to secure economies, and all Government Departments have been notified of these priorities in a letter of 3rd September. So far as the local authorities are concerned, they have also been told quite specifically and the level of expenditure now allocated to them means that they have cut down. In fact, we know that this is so from the Joint Consultative Advisory Council. The noble Baroness will appreciate that she has mentioned a number of different agencies and that I cannot cover them all. If she has any specific examples I should be grateful if she would write to me.