§ Mr. Terlezki
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many authorities have so far complied with Government plans to privatise cleaning, catering and laundry services; and what savings have been made;
(2) if he will list the sanctions available to him against authorities which do not comply with Government policy regarding privatisation of services; whether he is satisfied that they are effective; and if he has any plans to seek further powers in this area.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
We expect all health authorities to comply with our policy on competitive tendering for these services. Very worthwhile savings are being achieved whether the work remains in-house or goes to a private contractor. Thirty-four contracts already let to outside contractors will produce savings of over £6 million a year. Only a few health authorities are refusing at the moment to submit programmes for competitive tendering and efforts continue to point out to them that it is against the interests of their patients to fail to seek the savings and extra funds for patient care which tendering can produce. It is too soon to start talking about sanctions but we are satisfied that my right hon. Friend has sufficient powers should they be needed.