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Direct Labour

Volume 229: debated on Friday 23 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he proposes to take against those local authorities whose direct labour or services organisations made significant financial losses in 1991–92.

So far this year, 60 statutory notices under the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 and the Local Government Act 1988 hayed been served on 38 different local authorities in respect of financial failure in 1991–92. My right hon. Friend has now considered the responses of nine of the authorities on whom notices were served on 25 January and 7 April. He has today given directions under section 19B of the 1980 Act to the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham—building maintenance and highways and sewerage—and under section 14 of the 1988 Act to the London borough of Waltham Forest—ground maintenance.The effect of these directions is to require the authorities to seek the Secretary of State's consent if they wish to award the work, or elements of the work to their in-house labour force following retendering which is currently under-way.He has decided to take no further action in respect of financial failure in 1991–92 by:

  • (a) Canterbury (building maintenance, highways and sewerage, sport and leisure management), Daventry (highways and sewerage), Hampshire (highways and sewerage), Liverpool (highways and sewerage), Southwark (ground maintenance, highways and sewerage, refuse collection, vehicle maintenance) and Stoke-on-Trent (building maintenance, highways and sewerage other cleaning, refuse collection), because they met financial objectives in 1992–93,
  • (b) Canterbury (school and welfare catering) Sandwell (building maintenance) and Stoke0on-Trent (works of new construction over £50,000) because, despite recording losses in 1992–93, they have provided strong evidence that financial objectives will be net in 1993–94.
  • (c) Canterbury (other catering) because the work has been contracted out.
  • Canterbury, Southwark, Stoke-on-Trent and Sandwell hayed been asked to provide quarterly financial returns to the Department.

    He is still considering responses from the London borough of Camden—building maintenance—and from Hereford and Worcester county council—building maintenance—to notices served on them on 25 March and 7 April respectively and responses from the remaining 27 authorities on which notices were served during May and June.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has now considered the responses made by the London borough of Lambeth to the five notices served on it, on 24 March, under section 19A of the Local Government, Planning and. Land Act 1980 and section 13 of the Local Government Act 1988; and what action he proposes to take.

    My right hon. Friend has considered carefully the responses he has received from the London borough of Lambeth to the statutory notices served on the council on 24 March, and has given today four directions to the authority, under section 19B of the Local Government Planning and Land Act 1980 and section 14 of the Local Government Act 1988.These measures effectively prevent the direct labour organisation from carrying out further work on highway maintenance, including street lighting, after 1 April 1994, except for emergency work, snow clearance, and gritting roads; prevent the DLO from carrying out work on the repair and maintenance of non-educational public buildings; restrict the amount of housing maintenance work which can be carried out by the DLO to two out of the three existing contracts and provide that the Secretary of State's consent is required before the DLO can carry out further work after 1 April 1994. In addition, the directions require the authority to submit all outstanding accounts to the Department by 31 December 1993 or be prevented from carrying out the relevant work after 31 July 1994.