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Central Unit On Purchasing

Volume 175: debated on Thursday 5 July 1990

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the new head of the Treasury's central unit on purchasing to take up his post.

The new head of the Treasury's central unit on purchasing is expected to be in post on 1 October 1990.

I am obliged to my hon. Friend for that reply. Does he accept that, assuming that public money must be spent as carefully as we would spend our own, all the spending Ministries should take full advantage of the activities of the central unit on purchasing?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The unit has played a very valuable part. Since it was established, cumulative savings have amounted to about £1 billion, and that is very welcome. We expect an even higher rate of savings in the coming year, amounting to something like 6 per cent. of the expenditures covered.

Will the Minister ensure that the central unit on purchasing and every member of the Treasury Bench receives a free copy of Sir Alan Walter's new book—or will they be given complimentary copies because, as I understand it, some of them are friends of the family?