§ 47. Mr. Biggs-Davison
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment who are the contractors for the raising and lowering of flagstaffs in Parliament Square, The Mall and elsewhere for ceremonial occasions; when they were appointed; what is the duration of their contract; what would be the balance between labour costs saved and costs of wear and tear incurred if the flagstaffs remained erect; which personnel of his Department are also concerned; and what economies are contemplated.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg
Where possible, competitive tenders are obtained for this work, although the number of firms who carry it out is limited. John Mowlem & Co. Ltd., Black and Edging-ton Hire Ltd. and Tubular Barriers Ltd. have been awarded contracts in recent years. The duration of the contracts varies from three to eleven weeks, depending on the occasion.
If the flagstaffs remained erect there would be additional costs in the first year of about £21,000 in Parliament Square, £93,000 in the Mall and elsewhere and in subsequent years of £4,000 in Parliament Square and £24,000 in the Mall and elsewhere.257W
A small amount of Department effort is required for letting and supervision of contracts.
Economies contemplated include the redesign of the sockets in the turf in Parliament Square, provision of permanent fittings on buildings in Whitehall and use of cheaper but equally durable timber.