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Consultancies

Volume 87: debated on Monday 18 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has made any assessment of the financial value arising from the contractual and manufacturing opportunities arising in the United Kingdom from British consultants' achievements overseas.

Overseas work undertaken by British consultants has provided opportunities for United Kingdom contractors and manufacturers, but it is not possible to quantify the financial value.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what initiatives he proposes to take to seek to ensure British consultants working overseas have the same financial support as do other countries' consultants from their Governments.

United Kingdom consultants do benefit from Government financal support both directly, from bilateral aid including the aid and trade provision, and the overseas projects fund; and indirectly, through consultancies funded by multilateral lending agencies to which the United Kingdom subscribes. The independent and professional status of United Kingdom consultants does not enable direct comparisons to be made with many overseas consultants. The Overseas Projects Board, which includes experienced consultants, has taken an interest in this subject, and I welcome the recent establishment by the British Consultants Bureau of a group to consider the issues in more detail.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is his estimate of the current annual value of work of British consultants in the construction industry in overseas earnings.

The net overseas services earnings in 1984 of United Kingdom firms of consulting engineers, process engineers, architects and chartered surveyors is estimated at about £1 billion.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is his estimate of the current annual value of work of British consultants in overseas earnings; and what proportion of the total of British overseas earnings this represents.

The net overseas services earnings in 1984 of specialist United Kingdom consultancy firms is estimated at about £1·25 billion. This represents just under 1 per cent. of all United Kingdom overseas earnings.