§ Mr. Key
The Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 required local authorities to expose building and highways work to competition and compulsory competitive tendering was extended to a number of other local authority services by the Local Government Act 1988. My Department has commissioned research into the effect or the 1988 Act. Information about financial effects should be available shortly.
§ Mr. Day
I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that the Labour party proposes to abolish compulsory competitive tendering for local services, despite the benefits that it has brought to local people in the form of reduced costs and better services? Does he agree that it shows that, despite the rhetoric of the Opposition, which appears to commit them to efficiency in local government, they are in fact committed to the maintenance of socialist dogma in many of Britain's town halls?
§ Mr. Key
My hon. Friend has put his finger on an important point. One of the greatest safeguards for local consumers of services is the Audit Commission. The Minister of State drew to the attention of the House in yesterday's debate the fact that the Labour party has plans to subsume the Audit Commission—another telling example of its intentions.