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Housing Committees (Chairmen)

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 8 April 1952

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether his attention has been called to cases where the chairman of the housing committee of a local authority is also a contractor to the same council for the building of council dwellings: and whether he will issue instructions as to the undesirability of such an arrangement.

No, Sir. No such cases have been brought to my attention, and I see no reason for issuing any instructions on this subject.

Is the Minister aware that in parts of Ealing this position prevails? Having regard to the fact that the old method of tendering is to some extent being dispensed with and existing tenders are being continued, in accordance with the Minister's instructions for construction on the same site, will the Minister say whether he still considers it desirable that this position should continue?

The hon. Gentleman has now mentioned a particular case which has not been brought to my attention. I think it has always been a rule in our public life that it is not wrong to have an interest but that it is wrong not to disclose an interest.

In view of the fact that the chairman will have very special facilities in connection with the observance of tenders submitted for houses, does not the Minister think that it is very undesirable that he should be in that advantageous position? Is it not a breach of the usual rules of public life?

If the hon. Gentleman had called my attention to this matter in a specific case, of course I should have looked into it, but he put the Question down in general terms and mentioned his specific accusation only at a later stage.