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Christmas Hamper Schemes

Volume 455: debated on Monday 15 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will bring forward new regulatory controls on the Christmas hamper schemes and related industries. (113739)

I met the chief executive of the Office of Fair Trading on 8 November, and asked that the OFT work with the Financial Services Authority and DTI officials to look at the regulatory framework in which Farepak operated, and consider options to address any issues raised. OFT has now provided its preliminary views to DTI Ministers and we will be discussing these with OFT and FSA. The Government will also consider carefully the recent recommendations of the Treasury Select Committee in relation to savings clubs.

The Government have already announced that the DTI’s Companies Investigation Branch is conducting a confidential inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the failure of Farepak. DTI officials will seek to interview whomever they consider can assist them in their inquiries and the administrators will in due course report to the Secretary of State on the fitness or otherwise of the directors of Farepak.