Previous Section Index Home Page

Security and Intelligence Agencies

John Mann: To ask the Prime Minister if he plans to change the departmental expenditure limit and administration costs limits for 2001–02 for the security and intelligence agencies. [37367]

The Prime Minister: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the departmental expenditure limit (DEL) for the Security and Intelligence Agencies will be increased by £7,521,000 from £891,833,000 to £899,354,000 and the administration cost limit will be increased by £5,505,000 from £441,954,000 t £447,459,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are set out in the following table:

New DEL783,229,000
Of which:
New DEL116,903,000
Of which:

The change in the resource element of the DEL arises from:

14 Feb 2002 : Column 612W

1. £49,449,000 for further counter-terrorism work drawn from the Reserve;
2. a PES transfer of £106,000 from the Treasury Solicitor's Department;
3. a transfer of £700,000 from Capital;
4. the take up of End of Year Flexibility (EYF) carried forward from 2001–02 of £1,800,000;
5. a reduction of £48,000,000 due to a revised forecast;
6. a decrease of £105,000 to reflect the latest property/land values
7. a decrease of £5,000 to cover Loss on Sale.

The change in the capital element of the DEL arises from £4,276,000 for further counter-terrorism work drawn from the Reserve and £700,000 transferred to Resource DEL.

The increases will be offset by inter-departmental transfers, the take up of DEL EYF and extra funding from the Reserve.

British Companies

Adam Price: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what the Government's definition of a British company is; [36069]

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will publish the text of his letter to the Prime Minister of Romania about the sale of that country's steel company, Sidex; and when the text was made available to LNM Holdings; [37011]

14 Feb 2002 : Column 613W

The Prime Minister: There is no formal legal definition of a British company.

Each case is considered on its merits in terms of the overall potential benefit to UK business and to the UK economy. A number of factors will be relevant in considering this including whether the company is incorporated or registered in Britain, whether the company has a UK address, whether a company is UK controlled or owned, whether it employs people in the UK, whether it has a UK manufactured product or service, and whether there are wider benefits for the UK, in terms of increased access to overseas markets, increased employment or increased competitiveness.

The LNM Group is a global organisation with a headquarters in London, which includes UK registered companies and which employs people in the UK. London and the UK benefit from the location of groups such as LNM here which reflect its position as a global centre for business.

As I have made clear I signed the letter on the advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the ambassador in Bucharest. The decision to award the contract had already been made when I signed the letter, as the text of the letter made clear. This letter is already in the public domain. With the agreement of the Romanian Government, this letter was read out at the signing ceremony in Bucharest on 25 July 2001.

There was nothing extraordinary about my letter to the Romanian Government. I have written regularly to other leaders concerning contracts in which there is a British commercial interest. I have also lobbied fellow leaders in person and over the telephone on behalf of British business. Ministers in successive Governments have fought for British interests abroad and I regard this as an important part of my job.

It is not normal practice to release letters from the Prime Minister to another Head of Government under exemption 1(b) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. Exemption 13 of the Code also applies with regard to commercial confidentiality.

Adam Price: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what recent representations the Government have made to the European Union regarding the impact of enlargement of the European Union on the British steel industry; [36065]

14 Feb 2002 : Column 614W

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Prime Minister (1) when (a) he and (b) his staff have met representatives of the Government of Romania to discuss that country's accession to the European Union; [37016]

The Prime Minister: UK support for Romanian EU accession, once Romania fulfils the conditions for membership, has long been on the record. It is our firm view that enlargement of the EU will be of economic and political benefit to existing members and candidate countries.

Together with our European partners, we have encouraged the Romanian Government to complete the privatisation of the Romanian steel industry as part of the process of creating a fully-functioning market economy, one of the fundamental criteria for Romania's EU accession.

We have consistently supported the interests of British business in the EU enlargement process, including those of the British steel industry, through the relevant EU fora.

The sale of Sidex strengthens UK/Romania relations. It sends a strong positive signal to investors and businessman in Britain about market liberalisation and investment opportunities in Romania. The UK has strong interest in steps that help towards the reconstruction of the Romanian economy and towards its membership of the European Union. Privatisation of its steel industry through the sale of Sidex is an important element in its economic reform which will help to establish a level playing field between EU and Romanian steel producers and should lead to a reduction in levels of state subsidies which disadvantage UK steel producers. the privatisation did not threaten British jobs.

I met the previous Romanian President, Emil Constantinescu, in Strasbourg in October 1997, during my visit to Bucharest in May 1999 and in London in February 2000. During my visit to Bucharest in May 1999 I also met the then Prime Minister Radu Vasile, and I met the current Prime Minister Adrian Nastase during his official visit in November 2001. On each occasion I emphasised my support for Romanian EU accession.


Adam Price: To ask the Prime Minister what the cost was to Her Majesty's Treasury of the Romanian Prime Minister's visit to the UK in November 2001. [36073]

The Prime Minister: The Romanian Prime Minister visited London under our Guest of Government visit scheme. As is normal on such occasions, the Government met the costs of accommodation, some official entertainment and some travel within the UK for the official party.

The cost to the Government of the visit was £26,813.37.

14 Feb 2002 : Column 615W

Next Section Index Home Page