asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is satisfied with the current staffing levels of the Export Credits Guarantee Department.
Yes. By its nature, ECGD's business has peaks and troughs and the Department cannot be permanently staffed simply to cope with either of these extremes. However, unless there is a growth in the volume of demand which exceeds reasonable forecasts based on past trends, I am confident that the staff ceilings set for ECGD can be met without detriment to the quality or range of ECGD's services.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the average length of time at present taken to process an application for cover by the Export Credits Guarantee Department; and how this compares with 1977.
No record is available of the average length of time taken. Spot checks show, however, that between 25 per cent. and 30 per cent. of all short-term credit limit applications are usually processed within three working days and 60 per cent. within two weeks. The bulk of the remainder relate to unknown buyers on whom ECGD has to obtain information overseas. This may take several weeks, or sometimes significantly longer in difficult markets. No data for 1977 are available.