Orders of the Day — Local Government (Contracts) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 23rd June 1997.

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Photo of Hilary Armstrong Hilary Armstrong Minister of State (Local Government and Housing), Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Minister of State (Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions) (Local Government) 3:31 pm, 23rd June 1997

I speak on behalf of the whole Government when I say that we do support public-private partnerships. The Bill deals with them in local government, and local government already has a proud record of effective public-private partnership deals that have been conducted in a manner different from the way in which, according to the former Government, private finance initiative deals have been conducted in the past.

The Bill is a specific short measure intended to address the problems that have arisen in the securing of contracts that have the confidence of both the public and the private sectors, and it is on that basis that we wish to act. I am afraid that other issues must be taken up with relevant Secretaries of State, but, as I have said, the Government as a whole are committed to effective public-private partnership arrangements.

I intend the Bill to be in force by November. Speed is important to minimise any delay in local authority projects where contractors want to hold back from entering into contracts until the Bill is in force, although it contains provisions that will allow it to bite on contracts entered into from the date of its introduction. I commend it to the House