§ Mr. Merlyn Rees
asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware of the difficulties put in the way of county council authorities who operate a direct labour road construction department by the ruling that contracts for over £50,000 must be put out for competitive tenders to firms on an approved list; and if he will take steps to increase this limit.
§ Mr. Tom Fraser
The requirements that the direct labour estimate shall be compared with tenders by contractors and accepted only if it is the more favourable applies only to certain trunk road contracts, where the Council acts as my agent and the Exchequer bears the whole160W cost of the work. Dispensation from the requirement may be sought in special circumstances. I do not think that the rule, which is designed to promote due economy in public expenditure, is unreasonable or need give rise to difficulties for agent authorities.