§ Mr. Hannam
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether local authorities will still be able to use the priority suppliers scheme if the Local Government Bill is passed in its present form; and if he will make a statement regarding the relationship between the local authorities' sheltered workshops in light of the proposals on competitive tendering.
§ Mr. Chope
The effect of the Bill's provisions on the priority suppliers scheme is currently under consideration. Any additional costs incurred in the employment of local authority disabled employees who are involved in activities affected by the competition provisions of the Bill, whether in sheltered workshops or otherwise, will be taken into account by the Secretary of State in deciding whether to act against any failure to meet the financial objectives provided for by the Bill.