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Timber

Mr. Gill: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the contribution that home-produced timber makes to the balance of trade figures. [16086]

Mr. Oppenheim: The standard international trade classification, under which UK trade is recorded, does not separately identify home-produced timber. The UK crude deficit in timber, wherever produced, was £1.4 billion to 1994 and £0.9 billion in January to September 1995.

Asbestos

Mr. Ian McCartney: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what has been the amount and monetary value of asbestos cement and asbestos friction materials imported into the United Kingdom in each of the last five years. [16617]

Mr. John M. Taylor: The answer is in the table:

UK imports of asbestos cement and asbestos friction materials

Asbestos cement Asbestos friction materials
Year£ millionTonnes£ millionTonnes
19912988,178184,099
19922371,210215,706
19932061,816223,668
19942574,154234,643
1995 (January-September)1547,024183,672

Notes:

1. Asbestos cement is defined as heading 661.83 of the standard international trade classification (SITC) revision 3, and includes articles of cellulose fibre-cement.

2. Asbestos friction materials are defined as heading 663.8 SITC revision 3.

Source:

"Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom".


Capita Managed Services Ltd.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how much work from his Department was allocated to Capita Managed Services before the resignation of Mr. J. Jasper as director. [16250]

Mr. Oppenheim: This information is not available centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many directors of Capita Managed Services at the time they were appointed to collect costs against disqualified directors have themselves been, or are, directors of companies which have been liquidated. [16274]

Mr. Oppenheim: As far as is known, no directors of Capita Managed Services Ltd. were, at the time the company was awarded the contract to collect costs from disqualified directors, themselves directors of companies which had been the subject of winding up proceedings.

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade on how many occasions (a) the Registrar of Companies for England and Wales and (b) the Inspector General of the Insolvency Service or their representatives

27 Feb 1996 : Column: 433

met John Arthur Jasper; and what was the nature of these meetings. [16276]

Mr. Oppenheim: The Registrar of Companies and his staff have had several meetings with Mr. J. A. Jasper over a period of several years in connection with a computer services contract with Capita entered into in 1991 and with other possible contracts to provide services to Companies House. Neither the inspector general of the Insolvency Service nor his staff has had any meetings with Mr. Jasper.

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade on how many occasions (a) he and (b) other members of his Department met or had contact with John Arthur Jasper; and if he will make a statement on these meetings. [16277]

Mr. Oppenheim: Neither I nor other Ministers in my Department have met Mr. Jasper on official business. In respect of the Registrar of Companies for England and Wales and the inspector general of the Insolvency Service, I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave today to his Order question 16276. Information on whether other of my officials have met or had contact with Mr. Jasper is not available centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Official Receiver

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he hopes to announce the contracts for Official Receiver services to be contracted out; and which services (a) will and (b) will not be contracted out, indicating the considerations underlying each decision. [16412]

Mr. Oppenheim: I hope to be able to make an announcement before the end of the month regarding the outcome of the contracting out exercise undertaken by the Insolvency Service.

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade at what times the bidders for the work of the Official Receiver were allowed to change or adjust their bids; how many were (a) given and (b) not given this option; and if he will list the changes made to bids indicating their source. [16415]

Mr. Oppenheim: None of the six bidders invited to tender for the work available to be contracted out were permitted to change or adjust their final bids. They were all, however, invited to clarify certain points contained in their proposals during the technical and financial evaluation. The three organisations offering the best possibility of value for money were invited to further clarify some details of their proposals but no adjustment to their original bids was permitted.

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many bids for the Official Receiver's work were not in the form demanded by the tender documentation. [16414]

Mr. Oppenheim: All bids received were in the form specified in the invitation to tender.

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what estimate he has made of the impact on staff numbers if the work of the Official Receiver is transferred

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to the private sector; and when the trade unions will be notified of any redundancies. [16416]

Mr. Oppenheim: Up to 812 staff could be covered by the application of TUPE in any contracting out of official receivers functions.

No redundancies of staff in the Insolvency Service have been identified.

Insolvency Service

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the postponement of the decision on the future of the Insolvency Service. [16272]

Mr. Oppenheim: The planned announcement of the outcome of the contracting out exercise undertaken by the Insolvency Service was postponed to enable further discussions to be held with bidders appearing to offer the best prospect of value for money.

Mrs. Helen Jackson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the running costs of the Insolvency Service for the year ended 31 January identifying the costs of (a) staff, (b) leases and office rentals, (c) stationery and office equipment and (d) other support services. [17465]

Mr. Oppenheim: The Insolvency Service year end is 31 March. Its running cost budget for the year to 31 March 1996 is £54,984,000, of which total pay costs are £36,689,000, accommodation costs £10,754,000, stationery and office machinery £825,000 and other running costs £6,716,000.

Bank of Credit and Commerce International

Mr. Vaz: To ask the President of the Board of Trade when his officials last met the liquidators of BCC1. [17063]

Mr. Oppenheim: My officials last met the joint liquidators on 31 March 1995.

Single Market Legislation

Mr. Elletson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade to what extent each EU country has adopted single market legislation; and if he will make a statement. [16402]

Mr. Oppenheim: The following are the European Commission's figures of 8 November 1995 for the percentage of single market measures in the 1985 Commission White Paper on the single market which have been transposed into national law by member states of the European Union.

Per cent.
Denmark99.1
Luxembourg96.4
Portugal96.4
Netherlands95.5
France95.0
Sweden95.0
United Kingdom93.7
Spain93.7
Italy91.9
Belgium91.0
Ireland91.0
Greece89.6
Finland89.6
Germany88.2
Austria77.8

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We are encouraging the Commission to ensure that member states catch up on delays, and, at least as importantly, to ensure single market measures are effectively and evenly enforced in each member state. We are also making efforts to ensure that the UK catches up on its backlog.

Defence Jobs (Lancashire)

Mr. Elletson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is his latest estimate of the number of jobs in Lancashire which depend on the defence industry and its suppliers; and if he will make a statement. [16306]

Mr. John M. Taylor: The latest estimate for the number of defence-dependent jobs in Lancashire is 30,000. This is from a survey commissioned by Lancashire county council and represents some 25 per cent. of employment in manufacturing industry and about 5 per cent. of all employment in Lancashire.


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