§ Mr. Bill Walker
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps to prohibit expenditure by certain local authorities on forming and operating separate companies for catering and cleaning services to compete with private contractors who may tender for local authority contracts; what assessment he has made of the effects of this practice on the ability of private contractors to compete fairly for these contracts; and if he will make a statement.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
Within the resources available to them, local authorities may do anything that 55W is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the discharge of any of their functions. If authorities decide to set up companies for catering and cleaning services, they cannot award contracts to such companies without taking reasonable steps to secure competition for the carrying out of the work. I should be glad to be informed of any evidence that private contractors are being prevented from competing fairly in such circumstances.