HC Deb 20 June 1996 vol 279 c587W
Mr. Galbraith

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) how many representations he has received regarding the removal of the compulsory competitive tendering moratorium for Local Government (Planning and Land) Act 1980 work; what discussions he has held with local authorities and their representatives concerning this decision; and if he will make a statement; [32576]

(2) what factors underlay his decision to remove the moratorium on compulsory competitive tendering for Local Government (Planning and Land Act) 1980 work; and if he will make a statement. [32574]

Mr. Kynoch

My right hon. Friend and I have received representations from hon. Members, private contractors and six local authorities. Contractors welcomed the decision to bring forward the reintroduction of compulsory competitive tendering to 1 January 1997, and drew my attention to the fact that, in the absence of compulsory competitive tendering, there had been a decline in the amount of work subject to competition. Some local authorities have, however, expressed concern about the practicality of the timetable and, in addition, one council has lodged a petition for judicial review of that decision.

My right hon. Friend and I remain strongly of the view that council tax payers should benefit from the introduction of competition as soon as is practicable. Nevertheless, in the light of the representations, and bearing in mind that we do not have powers to specify different dates for different authorities for the reintroduction of competition for work under the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980, we have now decided not to make regulations bringing forward the date for reintroduction to 1 January. My right hon. Friend announced this in a letter to Rosemary McKenna, the president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities on 13 June. Instead, we are consulting on that a practicable timetable for reintroduction would be, but clearly 1 January is no longer practicable.

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