asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the number of local authorities which have, during the current financial year, awarded contracts to their own direct labour organisations, even though these have not submitted the lowest tender, on the grounds that this has avoided the cost of redundancy.
My right hon. Friend is aware of a number of such cases which have been drawn to his attention, but the Department does not collect the figures to make a general estimate. However, directions made this year by my right hon. Friend now require each authority to publish in its annual DLO report full details of every case in which it has rejected a lower tender in favour of its own direct labour organisation, including the reasons for so doing.