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Building Contracts, Lambeth (Stoppages)

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 1 April 1952

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government why, in a letter dated 19th February last, he refused an application by the Lambeth Borough Council to pay out-of-pocket expenses to building contractors in the event of steel shortages causing stoppage of work on housing schemes.

The form of contract used by Lambeth Borough Council does not provide for payments of this kind and my right hon. Friend is not prepared to agree to recommend loan sanction to cover them.

How does the hon. Gentleman reconcile that answer with the statement made by his Minister in the House on 4th March last, that housing contracts are not subject to his approval and that the local authorities can come to amicable arrangements with housing contractors on the matter?

If housing authorities come to arrangements with housing contractors to pay out money over and above the conditions of the contract, it is not for my right hon. Friend to provide loan sanctions in advance for them. It is a matter for the local authority. In this case, the application referred to specific work carried out at Solon New Road in the hon. and gallant Gentleman's constituency. The contractor has waived his claim and the work is now proceeding. There is no necessity for any loan at all.