§ Mr. Ralph Howell
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) in what circumstances a regional water authority can be asked to place orders with British concerns;
(2) what advice was given to the Anglian Water Authority by the Depart ment of Industry with reference to recent computer tenders;
(3) what is the rôle of the Government-appointed members of the regional water authorities with respect to computer orders.30W
§ Mr. Denis Howell
Regional water authorities make their own decisions on purchasing policy. In the particular case that the hon. Member has in mind, the authority was reminded by my Department of the Government's general attitude of support for ICL, and I myself stressed the responsibility of the authority to assure itself of the economic basis for major investment of this kind; but the ultimate decision is for the authority itself to take in the light of all the circumstances. I understand that the authority has now decided to invite re-tenders for the project.
Government-appointed members of water authorities do not act as Government representatives and have no special role in relation to computer orders.
I am consulting the National Water Council about the whole question of the use of computers within the water industry.