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Non-commercial Disputes

Mr. Harvey: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what new provision he is planning for the handling of non-commercial disputes.

Mr. Heseltine: The provision of the draft Arbitration Bill would, like those of the existing Arbitration Acts 1950 to 1979, apply to commercial and non-commercial arbitrations alike.

Bills (Private Utilities)

Mr. Bill Michie: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will takes steps to ensure that partial payment of bills from private utilities may be made at post offices in cash.

Mr. Charles Wardle: Post Office Counters already has such arrangements on a commercial basis with British Gas, British Telecom and the great majority of regional water and electricity companies.

Uranium Exports

Mr. Cousins: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 26 January to the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Smith), Official Report , columns 335 36 , if he will give the reasons why the British percentage share of EU exports of low enriched, high enriched and natural uranium is confidential for the years 1988 to 1992 but not confidential for 1993.

Mr. Charles Wardle: Information on exports of these commodities is available in aggregate only, due to commercial confidentiality. With the introduction of Intrastat from January 1993, separate figures for EU and non-EU exports are the available aggregates.


Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the President of the Board of Trade which areas have been selected for assistance under the Konver initiative; what types of projects will be supported; how many jobs are expected to result; what funds are involved; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Charles Wardle: A list of priority areas eligible for Konver II will be published by European Commission in the Official Journal shortly. I expect the London borough of Ealing to be included in this list. The

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Government are currently considering additional areas to be included in the British programme to be sent to the Commission by 1 March. Once the programme has been agreed, probably in the summer, applications for grant can be considered.

Konver targets small and medium enterprises needing advice and support for diversification, such as the promotion of innovation, know-how and technology transfer and feasibility studies. The rehabilitation of military sites and environmental improvement is also covered. There is also a provision for training.

The number of jobs likely to be created through Konver II will not be known until applications are received and considered.

Konver I grants worth £17.9 million were awarded in 1993 to projects across the country. The UK's allocation from Konver II will be £79 million.

Coal Privatisation

Mr. Barnes: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what arrangements he has made to ensure that agreements existing for the sale and purchase of land by British Coal will be carried out by the appropriate successor privatised companies; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Charles Wardle: In general, the acquisition and disposal of land are commercial matters for the mining companies concerned. Where British Coal's interests in land have been transferred to successor companies, any binding agreements relating to the sale and purchase of that land have also been transferred.


Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if his Department permits consultants to tender for contracts resulting from work they have carried out in (a) drawing up the specification for the tender documents or (b) recommending the contracting out of a Government service.

Mr. Heseltine: (a) No. (b) Consultants are generally excluded from tendering for services where they have been employed to advise on the feasibility of contracting out. Where a general exclusion has not applied, appropriate safeguards have been required to prevent potential conflicts of interest arising between the interests of the project and any other commercial interest the consultant may have.

Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if Shreeveport Consultants submitted its accounts for 1993 94 to Companies House by the legal deadline.

Mr. Jonathan Evans: As this is an operational matter for Companies House executive agency, I have asked David Durham, the chief executive, to respond directly.

Letter from David Durham to Mr. Nigel Griffiths, dated 7 February 1995 :

You have recently tabled a Parliamentary Question which asked for details about the filing of the 1993 94 accounts for Shreeveport Consultants. The Minister has informed you that I have been asked to reply as Chief Executive of the Agency as this is an operational matter for Companies House.

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There is no company with the name Shreeveport Consultants on the UK Register. There is a company called Shreeveport Ltd, but we have no way of knowing whether this is the company that you are interested in.

Information on document filings by UK companies is a matter of public record, and available to any member of the public either through our search rooms or through our on-line information service Companies House Direct. There is a statutory fee of £1 charged for the screen of information which shows the document filing history of any company. You may find that use of these services provides the quickest and easiest way of checking whether you have correctly identified the company in which you are interested, and of finding out any relevant information on it.

Insolvency Service

Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he intends to publish the responses of official receivers to the consultation on the affirmative order to enable the work of the Insolvency Service to be contracted out; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jonathan Evans: I would propose to publish a digest of official receivers' responses to the current consultation by laying copies in the Library of the House before seeking parliamentary approval to any draft enabling order.

Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will estimate the amount spent annually on mechanical processing work in the Insolvency Service.

Mr. Jonathan Evans: In its report, Stoy Hayward estimated that, based on costs and the average staff in post for 1993 94, the contracting- out of administrative work would open up some £24 million of official receivers' work to competition.

This figure will vary with changing case loads and changes in the level of the Insolvency Service's staffing.

Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps he has taken to recover the working papers of Stoy Hayward Consultants on the Insolvency Service and to ensure that Stoy Hayward Insolvency Co. has not been passed copies.

Mr. Jonathan Evans: No steps have been taken to recover Stoy Hayward's working papers.

All information obtained by Stoy Hayward Consulting as part of its work for the Insolvency Service is subject to its undertaking as to its confidentiality.

Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what fee is being paid to Shreeveport Consultants for drawing up the specification for contracting out the Insolvency Service.

Mr. Jonathan Evans: The total contract price for drawing up a specification, bid documentation and evaluation criteria was agreed with Shreeveport Ltd. at £126,900, including VAT.

Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish details of the grades of the staff identified as surplus to the Insolvency Service by Stoy Hayward as option 1 of its recommendations.

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Mr. Jonathan Evans: Stoy Hayward identified £24 million of administrative case work which could be exposed to competition if a decision were made to contract out. It did not identify the staff undertaking such work as surplus as it recognised that there would be a need for contract management and supervision and that contracting out would offer the possibility of increased concentration on the official receivers' investigative role.

Regional Operations

Mr. Byers: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many staff his Department employs on a regional basis in each standard English region; what is the cost of running these regional operations; what was the total budget for each region in the latest available year; and what are the main purposes for which the budget is used.

Mr. Heseltine [holding answer 6 February 1995]: Disaggregated information on the basis of standard English regions is not available. However, information on the resources employed by my Department in each of the English regions covered by the Government offices for the regions is set out in the table.

                         |<1>Staff in post as|Running            |Running cost                           

                         |at 1 January       |costs for          |budget for                             

                         |1995               |1993-94            |1994-95                                


North East               |112.0              |3,618,000          |3,566,000                              

North West               |123.0              |4,720,000          |3,739,000                              

Merseyside               |44.5               |<2>n/a             |1,279,000                              

Yorkshire and Humberside |103.0              |3,394,000          |3,376,000                              

East Midlands            |85.0               |2,356,000          |2,848,000                              

West Midlands            |148.5              |4,659,000          |4,686,000                              

South West               |78.5               |2,320,000          |2,407,000                              

South East               |72.5               |1,693,000          |2,769,000                              

East                     |55.0               |1,799,000          |2,209,000                              

London                   |60.0               |<2>n/a             |1,971,000                              


Total                    |882.0              |24,559,000         |28,850,000                             


Staff figures are based on full time equivalents (part-time staff count as 0.5)                          

The Government Office Merseyside and Government Office London did not exist in 1993-94.                  

A breakdown of these running costs and budgets as well as details of the activities associated with them were published in MINIS 1994, available in the Library of the House.


Nursery Education

Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will list those organisations which have made written submissions to the official task force consultation on nursery education for all four-year- olds.

Mr. Forth: A list of organisations from which the official task force on under-fives have received written submissions is given. The list does not include individual schools or members of the public who have written to the task force:

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Association of County Councils

Association of Metropolitan Authorities

Avon Nursery Head Teachers

Avon Nursery Link Group


British Association for Early Childhood Education

Business and Technology Education Council

Campaign for State Education

Catholic Education Service

Children in Wales

College of Care and Early Education

Commission for Racial Equality

Cornwall Campaign for Nursery Education

Council for Awards in Children's Care and Education

Council for Disabled Children

Daycare Trust

Devon County Council

Devon Federation of Parent-Teacher Associations

Early Childhood Education Forum (in addition to many organisations who made separate submissions, this encompasses: Association of Advisors for Under Eights and their Families Childcare Association

National Association of Nursery and Family Care

National Portage Association

Tutors of Advanced Courses for Teachers of Young Children) Early Years Curriculum Group

Early Years Trainers Anti-Racist Network

Equal Opportunities Commission

Free Church Federal Council

Funding Agency for Schools

The GM Initiative

Grant-Maintained Schools Advisory Committee

Gwent Under Eights Network

Hampshire County Council

High/Scope UK

Incorporated Association of Preparatory Schools

Independent Schools Joint Council

Kids' Club Network

London Borough of Brent Early Years Conference

London Boroughs Association


Metropolitan Council of Kirklees

Middlesborough Borough Council

Montessori Education (UK) Ltd.

National Association of Educational Inspectors, Advisers and Consultants

National Association of Grant-Maintained Primary Schools National Association of Head Teachers

National Association of Nursery Centres

National Campaign for Nursery Education

National Childminding Association

National Children's Bureau

National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations

National Council of Women

National Governors' Council

National Private Day Nurseries Association

National Union of Teachers

OMEP (World Organisation for Early Childhood Education) Oxfordshire Education Department

Penistone and Area Nursery Development Group

Playgroup Network

Portsmouth City Council

Pre-school Playgroups Association

Ripon Diocesan Board of Education

Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames

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Save the Children

Shropshire County Council

Smart's Agency and Childcare Training Centre

Society of Education Officers

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Sound Start Network

Special Educational Needs National Advisory Council

Voluntary Organisations Liaison Council for Under Fives Whitehorse Childcare Ltd.

Women's Royal Voluntary Service

Working for Childcare

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