HL Deb 20 October 1981 vol 424 cc749-50WA
Lord Underhill

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will give details of the comparative costs or transferring to private consulting engineers the design and supervision of construction of over £2,000 million of new motorways and trunk roads, with the costs of the similar work previously carried out by the Road Construction Sub-Units of the Department of Transport.

The Earl of Avon

There will be a once-for-all cost (including redundancy payments to sub-unit staff and transitional costs) in arranging the transfer of this work to private consulting engineers. This is estimated at about £5 million. As regards the cost of carrying out design and supervision of construction of the schemes involved in the transfer, it is not possible to make a valid direct comparison of the costs that would have been incurred by sub-units with a declining workload and by consulting engineers with a continuing one. The Government expect that the transfer of work to the private sector will produce the benefits of a keener and more competitive approach to highways work.

House adjourned at four minutes past six o'clock.