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11 July 2007 : Column WS97

11 July 2007 : Column WS97

Written Statements

Wednesday 11 July 2007

First Solution Money Transfer Ltd

Lord Davies of Oldham: My honourable friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Kitty Ussher) has made the following Written Statement.

In light of the recent financial difficulties experienced by the money transfer company First Solution Money Transfer Ltd, the Companies Investigation Branch (CIB) of the Insolvency Service, within the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, is carrying out an examination of the facts of the case. The CIB has powers to investigate companies where there is suspicion of some form of misconduct, or where the facts need to be substantiated. The BERR Minister Stephen Timms also met representatives of the affected community last week to hear their concerns.

An insolvency practitioner has not yet been formally appointed to act as voluntary liquidator. However, the company has asked customers who have been affected by the financial difficulties experienced by First Solution Money Transfer Ltd to contact its nominated insolvency practitioners, Panos Eliades Franklin & Co, on 020 8815 4000.

The Government have already committed, following agreement reached on the EU payment services directive (PSD) in April 2007, to bring money transfer companies into regulation from November 2009. HM Treasury will launch a public consultation on the implementation of the PSD in autumn 2007. The Government encourage money transfer providers and users to participate actively in this consultation.

The Government recognise that international remittances through formal channels are an increasingly important source of development finance, and can have a significant positive economic impact in developing countries, particularly in low-income countries. The Department for International Development (DfID) recognises the challenges associated with sending remittances to developing countries, and is currently supporting a project to improve the transparency and lower the cost with which migrants are able to remit funds home to Bangladesh. DfID also funds the UK

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Remittances Task Force, which aims to promote greater transparency, competition and better information within the UK remittances market, and has developed a voluntary customer charter to improve remittance services in the UK.

In HM Treasury's document Financial Inclusion: The Way Forward, published in March 2007, the Government stated that they would approach the UK Remittances Task Force, to ask if it will consider how remittance services fit with existing financial service products offered to migrant communities by various providers. In taking forward this work, the Government will ask the task force to consider whether there are any lessons from the First Solution case for access to remittances and wider financial services by migrants in the UK.

Ministry of Defence: Agency Key Targets

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Drayson): My honourable friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Derek Twigg) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Key targets for the financial year 2007-08 for the following Ministry of Defence agencies and trading funds have been placed in the Library of the House:

ABRO;Defence Aviation Repair Agency; and Service Children's Education.

Northern Ireland Prison Service

Lord Rooker: The Minister of State for Northern Ireland (Paul Goggins) has made the following Ministerial Statement:

I have today placed copies of the Northern Ireland Prison Service's annual report and accounts for 2006-07 in the Libraries of both Houses.

Parliament: State Opening

Lord Grocott: Her Majesty the Queen will open the new Session of this Parliament on Tuesday 6 November. I plan to announce the date of Prorogation as soon as I am able.

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