HL Deb 08 May 1973 vol 342 cc401-2WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether there is any evidence that local authority housing schemes are being delayed or held back by:

  1. (a) the need to meet cost-yardsticks at a time of rapidly rising building costs,
  2. 402
  3. (b) the requirement on local authorities to accept tenders fixed in advance for two years,
and at what intervals they intend to revise the cost-yardstick and whether they will shorten the period for fixed-price tenders.


In order to avoid the difficulties referred to in the first part of the Question, new arrangements have been introduced to make the housing cost yardstick system more flexible to meet the complex tendering situation, by providing, where necessary, for special allowances to be added to the basic yardstick for individual schemes. These arrangements are enabling local authorities to proceed with their schemes at a cost which reflects local market conditions, and the number of dwellings in tenders accepted by local authorities in England and Wales in the first quarter of this year shows a 24 per cent. increase over the number accepted in the same period last year. The yardstick arrangements are kept under continuous review.

As to the second part of the Question, the effect of the present firm price tendering policy is disinflationary and the Government intend to maintain it. There is no real evidence that the policy has been a significant factor in deterring contractors from tendering.

House adjourned at twenty-four minutes past nine o'clock.