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Export Credits Guarantee Department

Volume 164: debated on Thursday 21 December 1989

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make it his policy that the introduction of private capital into the insurance services group of the Export Credits Guarantee Department will not precede the abolition of comparable state-owned agencies in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

I refer to the written answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) on 18 December 1989 at columns 23–24.It is the Government's intention that private capital be introduced into the company created from ECGD's insurance services group quickly after its incorporation. The early completion of these changes is in the best interest of ECGD, insurance services, the staff of both organisations, their customers and United Kingdom exporters.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make it his policy that the headquarters of the insurance services group of the Export Credits Guarantee Department will remain in Cardiff subsequent to any introduction of private capital into the ownership of the agency.

The location of the new company once privatised will be a matter for decision for the management and shareholder(s).

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what arrangements the Export Credits Guarantee Department, insurance services group, Cardiff, have made with the Property Services Agency to occupy a new office building subsequent to ceasing to be a Government Department.

Discussions have already been held with the Property Services Agency about possible future accommodation arrangements. No decisions have yet been taken.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of staff at the Export Credits Guarantee Department, insurance services group, Cardiff, have worked at projects group, London, during the past five years and vice versa.

The proportion of staff in the insurance services group, Cardiff, who have worked in the project group, London, during the last five years is about 0·15 per cent. and the proportion of staff in the project group who have worked in insurance services group is about 2 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of the work done by the Export Credits Guarantee Department computer centre at Llanishen arises from insurance services group, Cardiff, and how much arises from projects group, Cardiff.

The Export Credits Guarantee Department computer centre at Llanishen currently provides services to the two business units in the following proportions:

  • Insurance Services Group—75 per cent.
  • Project Group—25 per cent.
It is expected that this will have changed by 1 April 1991 to give the following proportions:

  • Insurance Services Group—80 per cent.
  • Project Group—20 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make any future introduction of private capital into the insurance services group of Export Credits Guarantee Department conditional on satisfactory arrangements being made for future employment for the employees of the group.

Any new employer will be bound by existing legislation which provides protection for the employees when the change of ownership takes place. Employment can best be safeguarded by growth in business. The changes I have announced will provide the best basis for such growth.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his written answer of 18 December to the hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart), if he will make it his policy to give preference to the introduction of private capital into Export Credits Guarantee Department, insurance service group, only where due consideration has been given to the need to safeguard employment in the financial services industry in south-east Wales.

Any new employer will be bound by existing legislation which provides protection for the employees when the change of ownership takes place. Employment can best be safeguarded by growth in business. The changes I have announced will provide the best basis for such growth.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the lease held by the Export Credits Guarantee Department, insurance services group, on the Crown buildings, Cathays park, Cardiff, precludes occupation by other than a Government Department or a charity.

The lease on the Crown building land does include covenants about commercial activities and the implications of these are being examined by the Export Credits Guarantee Department and the Property Services Agency.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what is his most up-to-date estimate of the effect on employment at the Export Credits Guarantee Department, insurance group services, of the change of status and ownership announced by him in his written answer of 18 December to the hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart);(2) what is his most up-to-date estimate of the effect on total employment at Export Credits Guarantee Department in the Cardiff area of the change of status and ownership announced by him in a written answer to the hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) on 18 December.

I see no reason why there should be any significant effect on employment. I believe the changes I have announced offer the best prospect of securing jobs for the future.