Public Sector Purchasing

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th November 1969.

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Photo of Mr John Cronin Mr John Cronin , Loughborough 12:00 am, 4th November 1969

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will instruct the joint group to be set up by the Government and the nationalised industries on public sector purchasing to investigate the possibility of giving preference to firms with good export records when purchases are made for the public sector and where this has no adverse effect on the public interest.

Photo of Mr Jack Diamond Mr Jack Diamond , Gloucester

The new group will be concerned with standardisation and variety reduction in public sector purchasing. Further progress in these fields should itself be of benefit to exports, but I do not think it would be useful to extend the group's terms of reference as suggested.

Photo of Mr John Cronin Mr John Cronin , Loughborough

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a substantial number of firms have grown large and prosperous on Government contracts and for that reason concern themselves very little with the export market when they could easily do so?

Photo of Mr Jack Diamond Mr Jack Diamond , Gloucester

I do not know whether they could easily do so. I certainly share the implicit view of my hon. Friend that they should endeavour to do so.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

Is the Chief Secretary yet in a position to answer the question which I asked him when he made a statement on this matter as to whether there will be a separate group for local authorities and, if he is not, will he take an opportunity to let the House know fairly soon?

Photo of Mr Jack Diamond Mr Jack Diamond , Gloucester

The answer to the first part of the right hon. Gentleman's question is "Not yet". I certainly undertake to do what he asks in the second part of his question.