HC Deb 21 March 1990 vol 169 cc672-3W
38. Mr. Boswell

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he next intends to meet representatives of local authorities to discuss anti-competitive practices in the awarding of contracts for services.

Mr. David Hunt

I have no present plans for a meeting with local authorities on this subject, but I shall shortly be issuing guidance by way of a circular.

43. Mr. David Porter

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many representations he has received about anti-competitive behaviour by councils; and what action he is taking to eliminate such behaviour.

Mr. David Hunt

The Department has received just over 200 representations alleging anti-competitive practices by local authorities in respect of services put out to tender under the Local Government Act 1988 and about 40 arising from the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980.

Each case is investigated and appraised on its merits. My right hon. Friend has considerable powers of sanction under the legislation and has already issued a direction under the 1980 Act, requiring Wirral borough council to obtain his consent before assigning work to its own DSO when it has not submitted the lowest tender, and on 13 March of this year under the 1988 Act to Hillingdon borough council, prohibiting it from carrying out vehicle maintenance work through its own staff after 1 September of this year.