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establish the fund. The EC and the financial institutions were then formally invited to become members of the EIF, and its inaugural general meeting was held on 14 June 1994.

The fund began operations in July 1994. By the end of that year, 11 guarantees had been approved, with a total value of some 711 mecu or £551 million. Of these, seven operations, representing 75 per cent. of the total value of guarantees approved, were in the TENs sector, while the remaining four operations involved SMEs.

All figures converted at 1994 average annual £/ecu conversion rate £1=1.289273 ecu.

LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL

Consultants

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Lord President of the Council what are his latest estimates of the expenditure on all external consultants, including management consultants, for each year since 1987, in 1994 prices, for his Department; and what are the quantified annual cost savings which such expenditure has resulted in.

Mr. Newton: Expenditure of £14,500 was incurred in 1994 by the central drugs co-ordination unit in respect of research conducted on its behalf by the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence. This work was not undertaken for cost-saving purposes.

No other relevant expenditure has occurred since 1987, nor does the Privy Council Office have any current plans to engage external consultants.


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