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BERESFORD LETTER FUELS LOCAL ANGER

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DoE investigations into private sector allegations that councils have flouted competition rules in letting contract...
DoE investigations into private sector allegations that councils have flouted competition rules in letting contracts for white-collar services have been met with a belligerent response.

Manchester City Council, one of the 81 authorities environment minister Sir Paul Beresford has told to respond to allegations by today (LGC, 5 January), condemned the request for information on the letting of its housing management, construction and property and legal services contracts.

'This pathetic attack is just a smokescreen to hide the failure of the Conservative government's policy and of the private sector,' said council leader Graham Stringer.

The local government response has led DoE officials to play down the Beresford letter, emphasising it was mainly a request for information to assess the results of the first wave of competition.

'The aim is to get a picture of what is going on,' a DoE spokeswoman said. 'It could work to councils' advantage.'

The Association of Metropolitan Authorities said it was concerned ministers had already 'closed their minds to the idea that authorities have handled the CCT process in a reasonable way'.

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