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Knutsford Crown Court

Volume 229: debated on Friday 23 July 1993

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To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will give Mr. Ray Veal the opportunity to tender for the cleaning and caretaking facilities at Knutsford Crown court; and if he will make a statement.

It is not the policy of the Lord Chancellor's Department to employ caretakers for court buildings. In accordance with Government policy of securing value for money, cleaning contracts are awarded by competitive tender and the contract for Knutsford has already been let.

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement concerning the compulsory redundancy of Mr. Ray Veal, the court keeper at Knutsford Crown court.

Mr. Ray Veal is an employee of Cheshire county council and his redundancy is a direct result of the county council's decision to sell Sessions house to the Lord Chancellor's Department. Negotiations with Cheshire county council for the freehold purchase of Sessions house proceeded on the basis of full vacant possession and it was clearly 'understood that Cheshire county council would identify suitable alternative accommodation for Mr. and Mrs. Veal. Further, the Lord Chancellor's Department made it clear to Cheshire county council that it would not be able to use the services of Mr. Veal as a caretaker. However, in an attempt to be helpful to both the county council and Mr. and Mrs. Veal, the Government property lawyers have been instructed to investigate and conclude an appropriate occupancy agreement to enable Mr. and Mrs. Veal to remain in their present accommodation.