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Crown Agents Stamp Company

Volume 115: debated on Friday 1 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy not to allow Volpone Investments to take over the Crown Agents Stamp Company.

Any request which may be made for my consent for the sale by Crown Agents of the Crown Agents Stamp Company Ltd. will be carefully considered on is merits. No such request at present exists. It would be wrong for me to comment on particular companies in such circumstances.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he has to ensure that staff transferred from the control of Crown Agents with the Crown Agents Stamp Company have their redundancy and transfer entitlements protected; and whether staff made redundant at a later date would be eligible to re-enter the Crown Agents or Civil Service.

The Crown Agents are, of course, aware of their obligations to their staff, and will take full account of them in any detailed negotiations for the sale of the Crown Agents Stamp Company.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of the sale of the Crown Agents Stamp Company on its reputation for impartiality; what steps he has taken to ensure the maintenance of high standards in the operations of the Crown Agents Stamp Company following its sale; and if he will make a statement.

The board of Crown Agents has concluded that it would he in the best interests of all concerned for both stamp companies (Crown Agents Stamp Company Ltd. and Crown Agents Philatelic Corporation) to be sold to an enterprise which would provide the commercial skills of an experienced private sector marketing organisation. No specific proposal for the sale of the companies has yet been put to me for consent under the 1979 Act. If and when one is, my decision will take into account factors such as those mentioned by the hon. Member.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Crown Agents or any other body will have a duty to ensure the proper conduct of the Crown Agents Stamp Company operation after the controlling interest is removed from the Crown Agents.

Detailed terms and conditions of sale of a controlling interest in the Crown Agents Stamp Company have yet to be formulated. The Crown Agents board is well aware of the need to take account of the interests and concerns of its present clients.