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Mr. Neil Hamilton : While each case is considered on its merits the main criterion is the totality and materiality of the unfit conduct alleged having regard to the size of the deficiency, period of trading and previous failures, if any. In addition the following criterion are employed :
public companies have a quoted share issue
companies in which the petition was presented in the public interest by the Secretary of State or other regulator
companies dealing largely with the public attracting high publicity or numerous complaints
material losses by the public or matters of wider concern to the business community
quasi criminal misapplication of assets or third party property in material amounts
successive phoenix failures of less than two years trading periods.
Cases identified as category A Year |Number ------------------------- 1991-92 |21 1992-93 |49 1993-94 |197 <1>1994-95 |129 <1>To 30 June 1994.
disqualification unit in each year since 1989-90 were not completed by the Insolvency Service's disqualification unit within the two-year period in which disqualification proceedings may be brought.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The system of case categorisation was introduced in July 1991. Details of cases abandoned after categorisation are not maintained in the manner requested. The total number of cases identified as meriting further investigation but which were not taken forward were :
Year |Number ------------------------- 1991-92 |369 1992-93 |332 1993-94 |763 <1>1994-95 |94 <1>To 31 May 1994.
These totals include cases which were not proceeded with because of parallel criminal proceedings, the bankruptcy of the potential respondent or the discovery of evidence which would refute or mitigate the allegations of misconduct.
Mr. Kevin Hughes : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the number of company insolvencies and how many companies ceased to trade in each of the last five years ; and in how many of these cases creditors did not institute liquidation proceedings.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : Information on company insolvencies is regularly published by the Association of British Chambers of Commerce, on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry, in "Business Briefing" ; copies are available in the Library of the House. The figures concerned were most recently published in the edition dated 6 May. The figures for voluntary liquidations show the number of insolvency cases not instituted by creditors.
Information on companies ceasing to trade for reasons other than insolvency is not available.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he will complete his investigations into possible breaches of European Union law in respect of the supply of Vernacare equipment in Holland as stated in his Department's letter of 7 March to the hon. Member for Bolton, North- East.
Mr. Robert Jackson : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what conditions or restrictions are placed by the Government on the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority in taking part in negotiations with its trade unions on the pay and conditions of its staff.
Mr. Eggar : Pay and conditions of service for its employees are a matter for the UKAEA with the exception of its pension schemes which require the approval of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he will list for the period 1979 to 1993 (a) the names of individuals acting as inspectors for his Department who are partners in law and accountancy firms, giving the name of the firm in each case and (b) the law and accountancy firms which have been criticised in inspectors' reports.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : Table A lists Companies Act inspectors from legal and accountancy firms who have acted during the period 1979 to 1993 and whose appointment has been announced. Table B lists firms of solicitors and accountants who have been criticised in inspectors' reports published from 1979 and the reports concerned.
Table A Inspector |Firm ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Mr. J. Darby FCA |Arthur Young Mr. H. Moore FCA |Moore Stephens & Co. Mr. I Bowie FCA |Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co. Mr. K. Webb FCA |Thornton Baker & Co. Mr. J. Hillyer FCA |Hill Vellacott Mr. T. Harding FCA |Tansley Witt & Co. Mr. P. Ainger FCA |Price Waterhouse Mr. A. Humphries FCA |Baker Sutton & Co. Mr. P. Foss FCA |Moores Rowland Mr. R. Morcom FCA |Pannell Kerr Forster Mr. B. A. Kemp FCA |Safferys Mr. P. Dobson FCA |Ernst & Whinney Mr. B. Currie CA |Arthur Andersen Mr. A. Hardcastle FCA |Peat Marwick McLintock Mr. I. Watt FCA |KPMG Peat Marwick Mr. P. DuBuisson FCA |BDO Binder Hamlyn Mr. M. Lickiss FCA |Grant Thornton Mr. A. Ridler FCA |Pannell Kerr Forster Mr. K. Carmichael FCA |Longcrofts Mr. D. Anton FCA |Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte Mr. R. Youard |Slaughter & May Mr. M. McIver |Bird Semple & Crawford Herron Mr. D. MacLeod FCA |Ernst & Whinney Mr. H. Aldous FCA |Robson Rhodes Mr. J. Eden |Bevan Ashford Mr. C. Chudley FCA |Bromhead & Co. Mr. L. Ziman |Nabarro Nathanson Mr. W. Hoffman FCA |Baker Tilly Mr. B. Worth FCA |Clark Whitehill Mr. G. Lane FCA |Chantrey Vellacott Mr. G. Staple |Clifford Chance Mr. T. Tress FCA |Hays Allen Mr. R. Lewis FCA |Kidsons Impey Mr. D. Spence CA |Grant Thornton Mr. D. Anton FCA |Deloitte Haskins & Sells Mr. M. Boohan FCA |Grant Thornton Mr. J. Venning FCA |Robson Rhodes Mr. P. Powell FCA |Moore Stephens Mr. R. Turner FCA |Neville Russell Mr. J. Scott FCA |BDO Binder Hamlyn Mr. J. White FCA |KPMG Peat Marwick Mr. A. Gilroy FCA |BDO Binder Hamlyn Mr. J. Heywood FCA |Price Waterhouse Mr. B. Burn FCA |BDO Binder Hamlyn
Table B Inspectors' report |Firm --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Burnholme & Forder Ltd. |Josolyne Layton-Bennett & Co. Brayhead Ltd. Orbit Holdings Ltd. |CT Moore & Co. |Peat Marwich Mitchell & Co. Ashbourne Investments Ltd. |Wright Stevens & Lloyd Data Investments Limited |Robson Rhodes Cornhill Consolidated Group |Singleton, Fabian & Derbyshire Limited Kina Holdings Limited |Harold Everett Wand & Co. |Dixon Wilson Tubbs & Gillett |Collins & Co. Scotia Investments Limited |Lubbock Fine |Richards Butler Gilgate Holdings Limited and |Thornton Baker & Co. others |Gerald Edelman & Co. Norwest Holst Limited |Price Waterhouse Ramor Investments Limited |Price Waterhouse Greenbank Trust Limited |Pannell Kerr Forster House of Fraser Holdings Plc |Herbert Smith Milbury Plc |Arthur Young |Hancock & Willis Minet Holdings Plc |Black Geoghegan & Till WMD Underwriting Agencies |Josolyne Layton-Bennett Ltd. |Arthur Young Alexander Howden Group Plc |Josolyne Layton-Bennett |Arthur Young |de Paula Turner Lake |Peat Marwick Mitchell Aldermanbury Trust Plc |Levy Gee |Spicer & Pegler Sound Diffusion Plc |Arthur Young Rotaprint Plc |Arthur Young |Ernst & Whinney The Milford Docks Company |Coopers & Lybrand |Lovegrove & Durant Edencorp Leisure Plc |Ernst & Young Norton Group Plc |Hacker Young |Taylor Joynson Garrett Astra Holdings Plc |Stoy Hayward |Baileys Shaw & Gillett London United Investments Plc |KPMG Peat Marwick CR Driver & Co. Ltd. The Bestwood Plc |BDO Binder Hamlyn Atlanta Fund Managers Limited
representatives from newspaper wholesalers and retailers as part of the follow-up action resulting from the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report on the supplies of national newpapers in England and Wales.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : A wide range of representations were submitted during the period for written representations on my Department's proposals following this report. I and my officials have subsequently held discussions with representative parties from the industry, including publishers, wholesalers and both existing and aspiring retailers, to discuss the terms of a statutory order and the possible alternative of an industry code of practice. I shall announce my decision as soon as possible.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he will next meet representatives of the fire brigades and fire brigades unions to discuss changes in regulating fire safety and fire regulations enforcement.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : In announcing publication of the report of the review of fire safety legislation and enforcement on 22 June, Official Report, column 228-29, my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade made it clear that the Government were committed to full consultation with all interested parties. This consultation process is now underway with a closing date of 31 October. I understand that the Home Office is already making arrangements for discussions with the relevant fire service organisations.
The Bill team which was set up in 1993 to deal with the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill had a budget in 1993-94 of £252,000.
The Bill team which was set up in 1993 to deal with the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill employed 13 people in 1993-94.
Column 389Out Bill team which was set up during 1993 devoted approximately 12,000 hours to deregulation work in 1993-94. Officials in other parts of the Department also work on deregulatory issues from time to time, but it is not possible to ascertain how many hours they spent on this work in 1993-94.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what proposals he has for the transposition into United Kingdom law of the provisions of European Union legislation suspending until 23 July 2002 the ban on state aid to the coal industry ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : Commission decision 3632/93/ECSC of 28 December 1993 establishing rules for state aid to the coal industry is directly applicable in the United Kingdom, as in all member states. Consequently no United Kingdom legislation is needed to give effect to this particular European legislation.
Mr. Mark Robinson : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the application submitted to him under the Companies Act 1989 by the Association of International Accountants.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : I have decided to recognise the accountancy qualification offered by the Association of International Accountants as a recognised professional qualification for company auditors under section 32 of and schedule 12 to the Companies Act 1989. I have placed in the Libraries of the House copies of the AIA's rules and guidance, on the basis of which I have taken this decision.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 8 July 1994] : Trade in two species of frog, including their legs and other parts, from Bangladesh is already strictly controlled under the convention on international trade in endangered species. I have no plans to seek any further restrictions.
Mr. Eggar [holding answer 8 July 1994] : The MINIS 94 returns for the Department were published today. A set has been placed in the Library of the House. The MINIS returns for the DTI's executive agencies will be published later in July together with a departmental MINIS overview.
Mr. Wareing : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what the mechanism is for monitoring the beer orders ; how he obtains the necessary information in order to carry out such monitoring ; and when he intends to review their operation.
Mr. Neil Hamilton [holding answer 7 July 1994] : As the hon. Member is aware, monitoring compliance with the Beer Orders is the responsibility of the Director General of Fair Trading. The five major brewers who are subject to the Supply of Beer (Loan Ties, Licensed Premises and Wholesale Prices) Order 1989 and the Supply of Beer (Tied Estate) Order 1989--the "Beer Orders"--gave undertakings to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to supply detailed information each year about the composition of their estates in order to allow the DGFT to determine whether the number of tied premises is within the maximum permitted by the Tied Estate Order. The details provided are independently audited.
In the case of the other provisions of the Beer Orders, including the guest beer requirement, the Office of Fair Trading is reliant on complaints to identify possible breaches by the brewers. All complaints are carefully examined.
There are no plans at present to ask the DGFT to conduct a special review of the operation of the orders beyond his normal monitoring role.
Mr. Barnes : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what provision his Department makes for child care facilities for staff ; what is the extent of subsidy to nursery places and holiday play schemes ; if his Department (a) subscribes to Childcare Solutions and (b) makes child care vouchers available ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar [holding answer 7 July 1994] : My Department aims to promote a culture where managers are understanding of the need for staff to balance work and child care responsibilities and is committed to exploring child care schemes which give value for money.
The DTI provides school holiday play scheme places, and certain of its executive agencies provide nursery places, at subsidies of between 40 and 50 per cent. The DTI neither subscribes to Childcare Solutions nor provides its staff with child care vouchers.
Mr. Wareing : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what recent meetings he has held with European Commissioner Van Miert ; at which of those meetings the matter of Inntrepreneur Estates Ltd's application for exemption under article 85 of the treaty of Rome was raised ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Neil Hamilton [holding answer 7 July 1994] : Neither I nor my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade have held any recent meetings with Commissioner van Miert. However, when my officials met officials from directorate general IV on 4 May to discuss a number of issues relating to competition in the brewing industry they were told that a decision might be expected before the summer on IEL's application for an exemption under article 85 for its standard tenancy agreement.
Mr. Wareing : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what recent representations he has recently received in respect of (a) the minimum purchasing obligation and (b) the rents imposed on public house tenants by Inntrepreneur Estates Ltd ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 391Member on 11 May 1994, Official Report, columns 315-16, my officials and I have received four representations from or on behalf of IEL lessees in respect of rents, and held one meeting with the Courage Leaseholders Association, at which the question of rents was also raised. I have received no recent representations in respect of minimum purchasing obligations imposed under IEL leases.
Mr. Wareing : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what recent discussions he has had with Grand Metropolitan Estates Ltd. in respect of Inntrepreneur lessees ; what advice he has given the company about dealing with IEL tenants ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Neil Hamilton [holding answer 7 July 1994] : Neither I nor my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade have had any recent discussions with Grand Metropolitan Estates in respect of IEL lessees.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 7 July 1994] : My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has responsibility for implementation in the United Kingdom of the chemical weapons convention, and this Department would host the national authority provided for under the convention. The DTI liaises closely, both directly and through the appropriate interdepartmental committees, with those other Government Departments which may have an interest in the convention.
42. Mr. Hawkins : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has for reform of the legal aid system to ensure that its benefits are available only to British citizens.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Anyone may apply for legal aid to pursue a case in the English courts, regardless of nationality, provided that their case is within the scope of the scheme. There are no plans to restrict legal aid to British citizens.
44. Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what representations he has received from the West Yorkshire area concerning eligibility for legal aid ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Since January 1994, the Lord Chancellor's Department has received five representations concerning legal aid eligibility from the West Yorkshire area, two of which were from hon. Members and three from members of the public.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to protect the rights of wives (a) when a court orders the sale of the matrimonial home to pay off the husband's debts and (b) where the husband continues to incur debts against the wife's income.
Mr. John M. Taylor : (a) Under current legislation, where a husband and wife are co-owners of the matrimonial home and the husband becomes bankrupt or a charging order is made against him, the court has a discretion whether or not to order sale of the home to meet the debts. The interests of the wife and the creditors will be considered by the court in reaching its decision. Unless the circumstances are exceptional the court will usually order a sale, though the wife will, of course, be entitled to her share of the proceeds of sale. I have no plans to introduce new legislation.
(b) It is difficult to envisage circumstances where a husband would incur continuing debts against his wife's income without her consent ; if the husband and wife have a joint bank or building society account, they the wife can end this arrangement to stop the husband using her income.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the procedures are for ensuring that when action is taken by the courts to recover debts all the parties involved are made aware of impending action ; and what remedy is available to individuals when the court fails to notify them.
Mr. John M. Taylor : It is the responsibility of the plaintiff in a court action to provide the information necessary to ensure that proceedings are taken against the correct person and that the proceedings are served on all interested parties. If a party to an action is not notified, they may apply for the judgment or order to be set aside so that the papers can be re-served. Anyone who is not named in proceedings but who has an interest may apply to be joined as a party.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will investigate the processing by Coventry county court of the case Sun Alliance v. Shah-Shah Court, case number 9003741.
Mr. John M. Taylor : I have already put in hand an investigation into the way in which the administrative arrangements connected to this case were handled in Coventry county court and will set out my findings in a letter to the hon. Member.
Mr. Boateng : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) in how many instances the formalities for the review of the contracts of recorders under the Courts Act 1971 failed to be completed before the due date over the last three appointment periods ;
(2) how many recorders were required to stop sitting due to administrative errors or delay in the formalities of their appointment over the last three appointment periods ;
Column 393(3) what steps have been taken (a) to remedy the consequences of any errors of procedural failures in respect of the reappointment of recorders under the Courts Act 1971 and (b) to prevent their recurrence ;
(4) how much has been paid to recorders by way of renumeration in respect of days during which the authorisation of their continuing appointment had not been obtained ;
(5) what has been the cost of any failures and errors in the administrative procedures for the reappointment of recorders under the Courts Act 1971.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Extensions of existing recorder appointments under the Courts Act 1971 are generally made for terms of three years, with approximately one third of recorders' appointments accordingly falling to be re-considered each year. Of the appointments expiring at the end of 1991, 1992 and 1993--and excluding appointments which it had been decided not to extend--there were seven instances in which the formal extension was not completed by 31 December of the relevant year. In the light of legal advice received earlier this year to the effect that the extensions purportedly made after the relevant 31 December were ineffective, four recorders whose appointments had been purportedly extended, and two recorders in respect of whose extensions steps had not been completed, were warned not to sit until they could be formally reappointed. One purported extension was for a period of 12 months, which has now elapsed. In two other cases recorders were also warned not to sit because, in the light of the legal advice, the extension of their appointment was now seen to be ineffective in purportedly extending their appointments to the 31 December following their 72nd birthday, rather than to the annniversary of their initial appointment. The recorders so advised have now been formally reappointed and so informed, except in one case where in the interim the individual ceased on age grounds to be eligible for a further appointment.
Standing instructions in the Department have been amended to make it clear that where a recorder's appointment cannot be extended before its expiry, further service as a recorder can only be effected by a formal reappointment. During the material time in the early part of 1994 only one of the recorders concerned sat, for a total of two days. On one day he dealt with two cases involving one defendant who pleaded guilty in both instances ; on the other the matter was adjourned as the parties were not ready to proceed. The fee for recorder sittings at the time was £315 a day. The cost of the action taken as a result of the legal advice in relation to the procedures for the extension of recorder appointments forms part of the overall costs of the headquarters expenditure of the Lord Chancellor's Department and cannot readily be isolated.
Mr. Boateng : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is his forecast of fee income for civil business for the current financial year ; and how far this forecast differs from the amount needed to meet his spending plans.
Mr. John M. Taylor : We presently forecast that, with imminent fee increases, we should this year receive £234 million income from civil business, £52 million less than the Department's published appropriations in aid figure.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many clerks in magistrates courts there were in Wales in (a) 1974, (b) 1984 (c) at the latest available date ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John M. Taylor : No reliable records of this information exist prior to 1990. In the magistrates courts in Wales, as at the end of December 1993 there were 21 justices' clerks and 127 court clerks, including trainees.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what was the cost of administering county courts and Crown courts in Wales in each year since 1990 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The table sets out the approximate cost of administering county and Crown courts since 1990. The division between Crown and county courts cannot be exact due to shared costs. The figures are in respect of the Wales and Chester circuit which includes areas of Cheshire.
£ million Year |Crown |County|Total ------------------------------------ 1990-91 |6.225 |10.133|16.358 1991-92 |8.525 |12.158|20.683 1992-93 |10.321|14.219|24.540 1993-94 |10.093|15.160|25.253
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many magistrates courts there were in Wales in (a) 1964, (b) 1974, (c) 1984 and (d) at the latest available date ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John M. Taylor : This information is not collected centrally. The provision of magistrates courthouse accommodation in Wales is a local matter for the eight individual magistrates' courts committees in consultation with their respective county councils, the paying authorities.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what measures are currently under consideration to improve the administration of Crown and county courts in Wales ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John M. Taylor : A number of national initiatives will help to improve the administration of county courts in Wales. These initiatives are concerned with streamlining procedures, and with the introduction of computer support for court functions. From 1995 it is planned that the LOCCS--local office county courts system--computer system will provide support across the range of county court functions which must be done locally. Other, centralised systems, such as the county court bulk centre, will improve the service offered in all county courts by removing routine and repetitive work which need not be handled locally and which can be handled more efficiently and effectively in a central, computer-supported location. A business management system for measuring work in the county court was implemented in September 1993. A similar system will be introduced into the Crown court in 1997. The Wales and Chester circuit administrator has published a policy document with a view to extending the use of the Welsh language in court proceedings in the Principality.
Sir David Knox : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will update to the latest year for which the figures are available his reply to the right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham, Sir Ian Gilmour, of 29 November 1991, Official Report, columns 666-70, showing the numbers of working and out-of-work families with children at different levels of income, according to family size, distinguishing between one- parent and two-parent families and between one-earner and two-earner families showing (a) gross weekly incomes