HC Deb 25 April 1984 vol 58 cc564-5W
Mr. Ryder

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will list measures to encourage competition being considered by his Department.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

Where opportunities exist for stimulating competition without reducing standards of service, we take them. For example, we have required all district health authorities to draw up programmes for competitive tendering for cleaning, catering and laundry services. Measures are being taken to end the opticians' monopoly on the sale of spectacles. We have promoted choice for the public by encouraging the private and voluntary sectors which complement state services. As to industry, one of the aims of public purchasing in the NHS field is to encourage a strong and competitive home industry.

We shall maintain these policies and continue to look for further opportunities for promoting competition where desirable.