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CONTRACTS: Local Authorities were yesterday given the go-ahead to issue longer contracts to private firms for a wide range of services. The contracts can now be for anything between five and 10 years, the junior environment minister, Robert Jones, disclosed. This will affect contracts for refuse collection, cleaning, ground maintenance, vehicle maintenance and sport and leisure facility management.

BUSINESS TODAY - Commons: Agriculture and Fisheries questions; Prime Minister's questions; debate on call for court disclosure of select committee papers relating to Maxwell affair; debates on orders on European Union partnership and co-operation agreements with Russia and the Ukraine. Lords: Team and Group Ministries Measure; Home Energy Conservation Bill, Third Reading; Criminal Appeal Bill, Committee; Carers (Recognition and Services) Bill, Committee; Pneumoconiosis (Workers' Compensation) (Payment of Claims) (Amendment) Regulations.