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Industrial Development Unit

Volume 81: debated on Wednesday 19 June 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of the executive officials currently in the industrial development unit of his Department are seconded from the private sector of industry.

Sixty per cent. of the current members of the Department's industrial development unit with executive responsibilities are seconded from the private sector. The 12 secondees provide the bulk of the team that appraises usually the larger applications for selective financial assistance, and gives other financial advice to the Department. The rest of the unit is staffed with permanent officials, responsible for such matters as the avoidance of conflicts of interest among the secondees and members of the Industrial Development Advisory Board, the proper conduct of the unit's business, and policy matters. Seconded members of the unit provide the Department with commercial experience and professional skills of a high order not usually to be found among permanent officials. Offers of financial assistance are the responsibility of Ministers, and letters offering assistance are invariably signed by permanent officials with proper delegated authority who are fully accountable for their content.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of the executive officials currently in the industrial development unit of his Department have been seconded from firms or organisations which have, in the last six years received section 7 and 8 grants for industry.

Of the 21 current members of the Department's industrial development unit with executive responsibilities, three individuals have been seconded from two private sector organisations which have received offers of selective financial assistance totalling £1·3 million in the past six financial years under sections 7 and 8 of the Industrial Development Act 1982 and its predecessor legislation. £1,423 million of such assistance has been offered in total over the same period.