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Ministerial Conflicts of Interest

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he last reviewed his Department's guidance on ministerial conflicts of interest; and if he will publish the outcome of that review. [106350]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 24 January 2000]: Guidance on the avoidance of conflicts of interest by Ministers is contained in the Ministerial Code, published by the Prime Minister in July 1997.

Misuse of Government Grants

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will place in the Library a list of his Department's procedures for dealing with reports of misuse of (a) DTI grants and (b) other Government grants. [106348]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 24 January 2000]: (a) The Department's Finance Handbook requires that whenever there is a suspected case of external fraud it should be notified immediately to Internal Audit Directorate, the Finance and Resource Management Directorate and Solicitors.

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(b) The procedures adopted by other Departments are a matter for each Department.

Inquiries (Independent Inspection)

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the DTI inquiries since 1985 that have been subject to independent inspection under section 432 of the Companies Act 1985. [106349]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 24 January 2000]: The following schedule lists those appointments under section 432 which have been announced and where one or more of the inspectors were non-Departmental staff. However, all inspectors have a statutory authority separate from the Department.

CompanyDate of appointment
Milbury plc27 August 1985
Guinness plc28 November 1986
House of Fraser Holdings plc9 April 1987
The Animal Defence Society Ltd.20 November 1987
James Furguson Holdings plc10 June 1988
Barlow Clowes Gilt Managers Ltd.10 June 1988
Aldermanbury Trust plc1 September 1988
County NatWest Ltd.19 December 1988
County NatWest Securities Ltd.19 December 1988
Sound Diffusion plc9 March 1989
Blue Arrow plc26 May 1989
The Bestwood plc23 June 1989
Atlanta Fund Managers Ltd.23 June 1989
The Milford Docks Company30 June 1989
BOM Holdings Ltd.6 February 1990
Atlantic Computers plc15 June 1990
Atlantic Computer Systems plc15 June 1990
London United Investments plc2 November 1990
CR Driver and Company Ltd.2 November 1990
Norton Group plc7 January 1991
National Westminster Bank plc12 March 1992
Mirror Group Newspapers plc8 June 1992
Chancery plc5 August 1993
Queens Moat Houses plc12 November 1993
TransTec plc20 January 2000

Lord Archer

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when his Department expects to conclude its investigations of Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare's share dealing. [106006]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 20 January 2000]: Inspectors were appointed by the then Secretary of State on 8 February 1994 to inquire into dealings in the shares of Anglia Television Group plc between 10 and 21 January 1994. The inspectors reported on 19 July 1994.

The inspectors were reappointed by the Secretary of State on 4 May 1995 to inquire into dealings in the shares of Anglia between 20 December 1993 and 21 January 1994. The inspectors reported on 26 July 1996.

On both occasions, in accordance with established procedures and legal constraints followed by successive Governments, the reports were not made public.

Hollis Industries plc

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what the cost was of the investigation into Hollis Industries plc; [106024]

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Mr. Byers [holding answer 20 January 2000]: In line with normal procedures on such matters neither my predecessor nor myself took part in deciding the terms of reference of the investigation or the procedures or options under the Companies Act in relations to Hollis Industries inquiries.

The procedures adopted in relation to the investigation into Hollis Industries were conducted in accordance with "the Investigation handbook" and "Investigations--how they work", copies of which are in the Library of the House.

Records are not maintained in a way which enables figures to be given for the costs incurred. Staff at various grades were involved.

I was informed on 9 December 1999 that the investigation was complete.

In relation to the disposal of Lock and PSS to TransTec it is the long-established practice under successive Governments not to disclose details of individual investigations. However, when I appointed independent inspectors under Section 432(2) of the Companies Act 1985 on 20 January I asked them to investigate and report on the affairs of TransTec plc. It will be for the independent inspector to determine the detailed approach of the investigation.

If they think it necessary for the purpose of their inspection they have the power to investigate other companies in the TransTec group and events from earlier in the company's history, including its acquisition of the assets of Lock and PSS.

Indonesia (Military Exports)

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list by (a) type of equipment and (b) date of export the (i) military aircraft, (ii) light tanks and (iii) armoured vehicles which have been exported

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from the United Kingdom to Indonesia (a) from January 1998 to 16 September 1999 and (b) from 17 September 1999 to date. [105889]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

Details of major equipment exported to Indonesia in 1998 are included in Part 3 of the Government's second Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls. This information is taken from the UK entry to the UN Arms Register. Details of exports from 1 January 1999 to 16 September 1999 will be published in due course in the next Annual Report. There was an EU embargo on export of military goods between 17 September 1999 and 16 January 2000.

Information on the date of export is not published by Customs and could be made available only at disproportionate cost.


Stamp Duty

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the annual revenue yield from increasing stamp duty rates on properties selling at (a) £500,000 and over and (b) £1 million and over, by 1 per cent. from existing levels in each case. [106506]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 24 January 2000]: The 1999 Pre-Budget Report projection of stamp duty yield from land and property transactions was £3.2 billion for 2000-01. The estimates of extra revenue that would be raised from increasing the existing rate of duty of 3.5 per cent. to 4.5 per cent. are given in the table below:

£ million

Increasing rate on:Estimated yield
Properties over £500,000(22) (including those over £1 million)400
Properties over £1 million(22)300

(22) Land and property including both residential and commercial

VAT (Vehicle Repairs)

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if Her Majesty's Customs and Excise has completed the review into the VAT treatment of vehicle repairs carried out by motor insurers; and if he will make a statement. [107039]

Dawn Primarolo: Customs and Excise have completed their review after consulting insurers, car repairers, and motoring organisations, including the Association of British Insurers and the Automobile Association, as well as the Office of Fair Trading. The insurers' investment in productivity helps the competitive development of the car repair market and I do not propose any change to the current rules.

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