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Volume 454: debated on Monday 11 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been collected in fees by the Farepak administrator; at what hourly rate fees are charged for a (a) partner and (b) (i) senior and (ii) junior members of staff; how much revenue has been generated through telephone charges from creditors; what estimate he has made of the final fees of the administrator; and if he will make a statement. (104619)

The administrators have not yet charged their fees to this case and the legislation does not require any account to be prepared until after they have been in office for six months. However details of the administrators’ charge-out rates are likely to be included in the report to creditors which will be issued in January.

Neither my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State nor I are in a position to estimate the amount of fees that may become payable in this case.

In most cases, the general body of creditors determine whether the remuneration should be based on a percentage of the value of assets dealt with by the administrators or their time costs. It is possible for the court to reduce the amount of remuneration where creditors claim that it is excessive.

With regard to cost of telephone inquiries, the administrators had to set up a specific call centre to deal with the large volume of inquiries about this case. I am advised that the cost of the calls is purely to cover the costs of the call centre and will not result in any “profit” accruing to the administrators.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to announce who is heading his Department's inquiry into Farepak. (106907)

[holding answer 4 December 2006]: The investigation into Farepak is being carried out under section 447 of the Companies Act 1985 by officers of the Department's Companies Investigations Branch. Unlike the appointment of inspectors, it is not the practice to disclose the names of investigators carrying out these enquiries.

The Government established Consumer Directto offer practical advice for consumers. 350,000 consumers have had access to advice in this year alone, with estimated total benefits to consumers worth£135 million.