§ Mr. Ashley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the firms Hanger and Vessa are still pursuing their legal action against his Department; what is the basis of the allegations being made by the firms; what stage of the legal process has been reached; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Major
It is confirmed that Vessa Ltd. and J. E. Hanger & Co. Ltd. are still pursuing separate claims against the Department for declarations that the Department is legally obliged to continue to deal with them on the basis of certain expired "cost-plus" contracts. The Department rejects such contentions. In the case of Vessa the Department has served its defence and is in the process of seeking an expedited hearing for the action. In the case of Hanger the Department will be serving its defence early in the new year and then intends to apply also for an expedited hearing.