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Crown Agents

Volume 941: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1977

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asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will update the figures given in paragraphs 4·6 and 4·7 of the Stevenson Committee's report on the Crown Agents, showing the percentage of the Crown Agents' procurements from outside the United Kingdom since 1970 and the loss or profit made by the procurement division in the relevant years.

The percentage of orders placed by the Crown Agents outside the United Kingdom in each year since 1970 is as follows:

YearPer cent.
The loss or profit made by the Crown Agents' procurement division in each year since 1970 is as follows:

YearLoss or Profit
1970374,000 loss
197188,000 loss
1972333,000 loss
197311,000 loss
1974484,000 loss
1975113,000 loss
19763,245,000 profit
The return to earning a surplus on procurement work in 1976 was mainly due to an increase in charges made against a background of losses over a number of years.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what is the salary scale and pension payable to the Chairman of the Crown Agents and the financial director.

The salary of the present Chairman of the Crown Agents is £20,751 per annum. The post is not pensionable. The fee of £10,000 per annum payable to him since 1st October 1977 as Chairman of the Port of London Authority is paid gross to Crown Agents.The post of financial director has now been abolished. The duties formerly performed by the financial director have been reallocated between the controller of services to principals and the financial and administrative controller. The salary of each of these posts is £13,423 per annum. Both posts are pensionable under the Crown Agents Superannuation Scheme, the provisions of which are analogous to the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether she will give for the longest and most convenient stated period of time the amounts of money spent by the Crown Agents on entertainment; what kind of entertainment was involved; and who participated.

We have asked the Crown Agents to produce as full details as possible, and when they are received we will publish the information in the Official Report.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she is satisfied with the progress that the Crown Agents are making in relation to the proposed bankruptcy of Mr. William Stern.

My right hon. Friend is satisfied that the Crown Agents have gone as far as they appropriately can in this matter at the moment with a view to recovering as much as possible. As she told my hon. Friend in the House on 16th May and again on 1st December, they have taken the formal steps necessary prior to the institution of legal proceedings that could ultimately lead to a bankruptcy petition against Mr. William Stern. They have done this in respect of his personal guarantees of a number of Crown Agents' loans to the Stern Group.